Zzzzz

by Lisa Rosen on September 20, 2010

Good Monday, y’all.

*yawn*

Don’t you hate that feeling?  The Monday morning alarm seems to ring earlier than any other day of the week.

I sleep late on the weekends as often as I can (I have teenagers, so sleeping late is a luxury I can indulge in), but when Monday rolls around, I still don’t want to get up when I have to.  This past weekend, the phone woke me up at 9:30 on Saturday when Lee’s brother called; 5 minutes later, it rang again–when I saw my brother’s number on the caller ID, I thought I’d entered some strange fraternal twilight zone.  That call turned out to be a small child.

I work out 6 days most weeks; my body is getting too old and creaky to go hard for a whole week without a break.  Recovery is the key to athletic longevity, so I’m careful to get at least one day off.  And part of recovery is SLEEP, so I try to get the day off on a day I can sleep late–thus my lazy Saturday mornings.  When the working-out morphs into marathon-training, the need for sleep just escalates.

Athletes, though, aren’t the only people who need to pay attention to sleep habits.  It turns out most Americans are at least a little sleep-deprived.  That whole 8-hours-a-night thing?  It’s not just a myth, invented to make you feel guilty.  It’s the rare person who can function optimally on less than about 8 hours of sleep per night.  Kids (right on up through the teenage years) need considerably more than that.  I know plenty of people who think they’re doing just fine on 6 or 7 hours, but they’re not–and the long-term effects of even minor sleep deprivation are insidious.

One of the major education components of the Healthy Lifestyles program at Duke is teaching kids (and their parents) that they need more sleep.  Sleep deprivation disrupts the body’s endocrine system.  if you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter, you probably remember how funky you felt the next morning–hungry, cold, shaky–that’s your body’s hormones going haywire.  Interestingly, one thing that happens when we don’t get enough sleep is weight gain.  Sleep-deprived brains don’t send and receive messages efficiently, so we don’t always understand the signals that govern our appetites.

If that’s not enough to make you insist on getting your beauty rest, I give up.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sonja Foust September 21, 2010 at 3:31 pm

I still remember the feeling I got after college, when I started my 8-to-5 job with no homework. After a few weeks of regular sleep, the whole world was, like, SPARKLY! I actually was awake enough to have real conversations and to read books without my eyes drooping after page 3 and to stay awake in moving vehicles. It was amazing. 🙂 I have not taken sleep for granted since then, although I still probably need to be a little better about getting closer to that 8-hour mark. I hit 7 most nights anyway.

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Lisa Rosen September 22, 2010 at 11:37 am

Isn’t it amazing? The world is a much nicer place when I’m actually awake . . .

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