Recently, I read a fascinating book, Why We Sleep. I am one of those people who really try to get 8 ½ – 9 hours of sleep a night. I simply feel so much better when I’m well rested. After I read Why We Sleep, I now know that my sleep schedule is critical to my physical and mental health. I want to share a few intriguing facts that I learned while reading the book, although I do encourage you to pick a copy up for yourself – it is a great read!
- Routinely sleeping less than 6-7 hours a night demolishes your immune system
- Insufficient sleep is a key lifestyle factor that determines whether or not you will develop Alzheimer’s
- Every major organ within the body, or process within the brain, is optimally enhanced by sleep
- Sleep deprivation impacts the DNA and learning-related genes in the brain
- Individuals with autism show a 30-50% deficit in the amount of REM sleep they obtain, relative to children without autism. There is interest in discovering whether or not the REM sleep deficiency is a contributing factor to autism.
- There is a definite link between sleep deficiency and ADHD: the symptoms of ADHD are nearly identical to those caused by lack of sleep.
- The World Health Organization has now declared a sleep loss epidemic throughout industrialized nations.
Ryan has always struggled with sleep, often tossing and turning throughout the night.
After reading this book, I believe that some of his lack of focus, inattentiveness, and increase in anxiety and repetitive behaviors may in fact be, in part, due to a poor night’s sleep. I recently purchased Ryan a “Queen size” bed and he seems to be sleeping better. Whether incidental or not, it does seem correlated to better focus and job performance! This book has helped me understand some of the “scientific” reasons for his behaviors. We are working on some new ways to promote better sleeping habits – I’ll keep you in the loop as we move further down that road!