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Are You Walking Through Life Half Asleep?

By Sandy Schroeder

At this time of year most of us look a little tired as the season starts to wear us down, but what about the rest of the year? Do you really get the 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night that you need to function well?  Or is 5 to 6 hours a better guess?

If the lower estimate is true, you may be literally moving through life half-awake as your brain cells become slower and weaker. Recent research at University of California, Los Angeles -- reported in Nature Medicine -- shows sleep deprivation can cripple a range of mental functions. No wonder you find yourself struggling in meetings, or slowing down as the day wears on when you are sleepy.

If you are driving a car under these conditions, and someone suddenly jumps out in front of you, your sleep-deprived cells may react a lot slower than a normal response. Sleep-deprived driving causes more than 70,000 accidents anually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

How It Works on the Job

We all know how it feels to get a good night's sleep, or to just struggle by with 4 to 6 hours, but do you realize how critical this loss is?  That’s the question the UCLA researchers asked as one reminded us, “These cells are responsible for the way we process the world in front of us.”

They said the cells can become increasingly slower and less focused, affecting the ability to communicate, read situations and remember information.

Think about your work and the times when sleep deprivation may have clouded your efforts as you struggled for the right numbers or words.

Turn the Page

If you feel you are operating with sleep deprivation daily, this may be the time to turn it around, before there is an accident, injury, or work impact.

Getting the 7 to 9 hours per night to feel fully awake and be completely effective at home and at work could happen with these steps.

Make your bedroom a cool, quiet sleep haven.

  • Eliminate phones, laptops and the TV
  • Add an air filter to create white noise
  • Install light blocking drapes
  • Update pillows and mattress
  • Remove any unneeded furniture or exercise equipment
  • Limit caffeine, smoking, and alcohol right before bedtime
  • Resolve ongoing stressful conditions or worries
  • Develop an evening ritual with soft music, warm bath or simple snack

As you find the sleep improvements that work for you, your days may begin to feel a lot better. Projects may come together and work may flow. At home, life may smooth out as little things become less of a struggle. Enjoy the difference.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in St. Peters, Mo.

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