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In human beings, proper sleep is as important as good nutrition and exercise for optimal health. Sleep provides both the emotional and physical replenishment our bodies require on a daily basis. Besides affecting our general health in adverse ways, inadequate sleep also causes problems with our productivity, behavior, emotions, energy, marriage stability, job security and numerous other factors that most of us take for granted. Among the many benefits of sleep are the following:

Sleep reduces stress.
When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body's functions are put on high alert, which causes an increase in blood pressure and a production of stress hormones. Higher blood pressure increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes. The stress hormones also, unfortunately, make it harder for you to sleep.

Sleep will make you more alert.
Of course, a good night's sleep makes you feel energized and alert the next day. Being engaged and active not only feels great, it increases your chances for another good night's sleep. When you wake up feeling refreshed, use that energy to get out into the daylight, do active things, and be engaged in your world. You'll sleep better the next night and increase your daily energy level.

Sleep can bolster your memory. 
Researchers do not fully understand why we sleep and dream, but a process called memory consolidation occurs during sleep. While your body may be resting, your brain is busy processing your day, making connections between events, sensory input, feelings and memories. Your dreams and deep sleep are an important time for your brain to make memories and links. Getting more quality sleep will help you remember and process things better.

Sleep can help you loose weight. 
Researchers have also found that people who sleep less than seven hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese. It is thought that the lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones in the body that affect appetite. The hormones ghrelin and lepton, important for the regulation of appetite, have been found to be disrupted by lack of sleep.
Power Naps are a good thing:
While small children typically take naps in the afternoon, our culture generally frowns upon mid-day sleep; however, even in those who get enough sleep (but particularly in those who don’t), many people experience a natural increase in drowsiness in the afternoon, about 8 hours after waking. And research shows that you can make yourself more alert reduce stress and improve cognitive functioning with a nap. Mid-day sleep, or a ‘power nap’, means more patience, less stress, better reaction time, increased learning, more efficiency and better health. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of sleep and how a power nap can help you!

Sleep can help to repair your body.
Sleep is a time for your body to repair damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays and other harmful exposures. Your cells produce more protein while you are sleeping. These protein molecules form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair damage.

The Effects of missed sleep are cumulative; if you lose sleep one day, you feel it the next. If you miss adequate sleep several days in a row, you build up a ‘sleep deficit’, which impairs reaction time, judgment, vision, information processing, short-term memory, performance, motivation, and patience. To get good nights sleeps avoid caffeine and strenuous exercise 3 hours before bedtime.

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