Get More Sleep – Or Else

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29 Feb 2012

It wasn’t long ago that the standard advice for good health was: eat right, exercise and don’t smoke.  However today, health care professionals are adding another very important element to that list—get enough sleep.

In today’s world of one big global economy, more and more people are working jobs that require second and third shifts; they are working out of their time zone.  Many watch late-night television or use the Internet till the wee hours.  Worries and daily problems keep us from sleeping enough hours or from sleeping soundly.

According to research done at the Mayo Clinic, insufficient sleep results in memory impairment, slower reaction times, lack of alertness and general grumpiness.  Tired people are less productive at work, less patient with others and less interactive in their relationships. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 100,000 crashes each year are due to drivers falling asleep at the wheel.

For those of us who exercise regularly, we all know how unproductive a session can be when we have failed to get a good night’s sleep. And – just to kick you when you’re down – lack of sleep will also disrupt your metabolism and cause you to secrete more of the hormone cortisol.  This increases your appetite and causes you to crave fatty foods.

But just how much sleep is considered “enough”? Even though most evidence indicates that the amount of sleep needed is highly individualized, the majority people require seven to eight hours of sleep at night.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, one-third of Americans are sleeping six-and-a-half hours per night – or less.

Dr. John Shepard Jr., who runs the Mayo Sleep Clinic, offers the following advice on how to get a better night’s sleep.

If you try all of these tips for a period of time and you still can’t sleep, seek professional help from a sleep center or a physician that specializes in sleep disorders.

Before the light bulb was invented, people averaged about ten hours of sleep per night!  That makes the average standard nowadays seem frighteningly low.  Getting adequate sleep is a key ingredient to living a life filled with clarity, vitality and health.


Alan Freishtat is an A.C.E. CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER and a BEHAVIORAL CHANGE and WELLNESS COACH with over 19 years of professional experience. Alan is the creator and director of the “10 Weeks to Health” program for weight loss. He is available for private coaching sessions, consultations, assessments and personalized workout programs both in his office and by telephone and skype. Alan also lectures and gives seminars and workshops. He can be reached at 02-651-8502 or 050-555-7175, or by email at Check out the his web site – US Line: 516-568-5027.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.