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HEALTHY HUSKY: Healthy eating habits

Campus Correspondent

Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013

Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2013 22:12

Sleep is one of the more often overlooked aspects of the overall health picture. The simple fact that we spend one third of our lives sleeping warrants special attention to sleep. However, when life gets busy it is often the first aspect to go by the wayside. This can lead to a multitude of problems as ignoring your sleep health not only has immediate but also long lasting effects.

Sleep is a key part of your health or a multitude of reasons. Not only does the nightly recovery simply feel good, a good night’s sleep has been linked to a wide variety of health outcomes. These range from healthier body weight to lower stress. Myriad sleep deprivation studies have been performed and show that with as little as 36-48 hours of sleep deprivation hallucinations and other neurological signs can appear.

While the exact reason why we sleep has eluded scientist for some time now, new evidence has surfaced which helps put our nightly slumber in perspective. It now seems that when we sleep, chemicals in our brain that damage the cells in our brain are metabolized and removed. These same chemicals have been linked to neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. This data, although preliminary, helps show how healthy habits in your younger years can have a great effect on your health down the line.

The question now is how much sleep is best. The answer is slightly individual but the most common recommendation for teenagers and young adults is to get between seven and eight hours of sleep a night. This number gradually decreases as you age; however, in years where you are still growing, the extra recovery from a longer sleep is necessary.

What makes this even more important is the fact that your sleep debt cannot be recovered from one night to the next. This means trying to be regular about your habit are crucial. Especially when you are not exhausted it can be easy to fluctuate your sleep patterns and disrupt your schedule. By going to bed and rising the same time every day you allow your body to develop a rhythm it depends on for everything from metabolism to energy patterns.

When you have trouble going to sleep there are several things you can do. One hour before the time you go to sleep, remove everything stimulating from your focus. This means phones, TV and computers. These screens are distracting and over stimulating, both of which can lead to trouble falling asleep. Also, if you consume caffeine do not do so after three in the afternoon. This nervous system stimulant can affect the sleep patterns of even the most habitual users. Finally avoid large meals before bed. The large amount of food in your stomach can lead to GI distress and leave you feeling uncomfortable.

The importance of sleep cannot be understated. The time for your brain and body to shut down and recover are crucial in terms of a variety of health conditions. By simply sticking to a routine you can make your sleep work for you and wake up with more energy and less fatigue during the day.


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