Grogginess, body aches and fatigue, confusion, decreased productivity, and irritability are indicators your sleep needs are in need of attention. In 1910, individuals slept nine hours a night. Today, surveys indicate adults sleep less than seven hours a night. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, sleep deficiency is now identified as a public health problem. GPS technology, LED lighting, equipment design and function, global food demands, markets, weather events, and family dynamics push producers to work past the physical and mental limitations of the body. To keep up, farmers and ranchers cut back on sleep.
Sleep deprivation causes a pendulum swing of disproportionate emotions from irritable and antsy, to giddy, to a state of vicious negativity. Negative feelings of worthlessness, sadness, depression and questioning one’s sense of value can be a part of that imbalance. Under-slept adults are more apt to be self-absorbed in problems or themselves leading to faulty decision making and possibly more risk-taking behaviors. The brain’s executive function (the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional skills) is significantly impacted, like the effects of alcohol consumption. Twenty-one hours of being awake equals the effects of a blood alcohol level of .08 intoxication per the research of Dr. Matthew Walker a professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley. In many states, this equates to being legally drunk.
During wakeful hours, our brain is constantly acquiring and absorbing new information. We learn and store the intentional and the unintentional information. Sleep allows the memory storage of our brain to cement the factual information which frees up space for new learning the next day. Additional benefit of sleep is memory creativity. Sleep provides a nighttime theater in which our brain tests out and fuses separate sets of knowledge. Impressive problem-solving abilities take place.
Sleep provides the weaponry within our immune arsenal to protect and fight against infection and sickness. When ill, we want to curl up in bed and sleep. Our body wishes to sleep itself well.
Physical stamina, muscle strength and balance are significantly improved by sleep. Muscle function requires a rested brain to perform at maximum capacity. The demands of livestock care and row crops are met by muscling through the routine chores and practices of agriculture. Sleep helps us to help ourselves prevent injuries and accidents.
Average healthy adults require eight to eight and one-half hours of sleep a night. Sleep needs and patterns change throughout our life cycle. As we age, we tend to wake earlier and go to bed sooner. Good Sleep practices and hygiene help you to live a healthy lifestyle and promote your best work performance. Make Sleep part of your workplace wellness plan.
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