sleepWe spend one-third of our lives in a quiet (most of us!), inactive, solitary state called sleep. But that period of slumber isn’t as passive as it seems. While we’re dreaming, we’re restoring our mind and body and influencing the remaining two-thirds of our lives in very profound ways. Want to know a little more about this integral part of our lives?

  1. Sleep is just as important to health as diet and exercise.
  1. In 2014, the National Sleep Foundation determined that adults between 26 and 64 years old need seven to nine hours per night, but when you reach 65, your sleep requirement drops slightly to seven to eight.
  1. Most of us start to have sleep problems as we get older, but age alone doesn’t cause poor sleep. Sleep issues are more likely to be brought on by health conditions like sleep apnea, menopause, prostate enlargement, arthritis and others.
  2. Poor quality sleep increases your risk of falling and subsequent trauma.
  1. Lack of sleep can damage your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness.
  1. Higher altitudes can cause sleep disruption, but you can adjust your sleep cycle to these altitudes within a couple of weeks.
  1. When you were a teenager, your body clock kept you up late at night and didn’t rouse you until well after your parents were up. As you’ve aged, the reverse has happened. Your circadian rhythms now probably cause you to tire earlier in the evening and wake earlier in the morning.
  1. Lack of sleep is associated with weight gain because it not only stimulates your appetite, but also causes you to make poor food choices.
  1. Before the advent of electricity, it is believed that most people practiced segmented sleep, going to bed after dusk, awakening for a couple hours to talk, write, read, pray and canoodle, and then enjoying a second sleep until dawn.
  1. If you happen to awake during the night yourself, try to drift back to sleep in 15 minutes or less. Otherwise, follow your ancestors’ lead and rise for a few hours until you become sleepy again.