For years, scientists, public-health officials, and psychologists have warned us about the health effects of not getting enough sleep, and its detriment to our job and quality of life. Aetna, a leader in health insurance companies, has come forward to reiterate the importance of sleep by launching a campaign called “Sleep Matters.” As part of their mission to help people get and stay healthy, Aetna hopes to take a fresh and inspiring approach to educating Americans on how to live a better lifestyle, which begins with getting enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation affects nearly 40% of Americans. Aetna’s Sleep Matters campaign aims to educate Americans on both acute and long-term effects of sleep deprivation. Senior medical director at Aetna, Edmund Pezalla, states that many of us lay in bed at night looking at our mobile devices, computers, or television when instead we should be sleeping. According to Aetna, our lack of sleep limits our productivity at work and in our personal lives. The Centers for Disease Control states that our earnings could increase as much as 16% simply by receiving only one extra hour of sleep, we must make time for sleep.
Sleep is an important part of our body’s rejuvenation process and a time for our minds to restore. Lack of sleep can result in a slower reaction time, can affect your balance, coordination, and memory, cause an inability to focus, and increase your chance of an accident. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to more serious health concerns, and begin to diminish your quality of life.
Many people who suffer from sleep deprivation do not dream while asleep because they never truly reach a full state of deep sleep. The stage of deep sleep where dreams occur is known as REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep. During REM sleep, your body experience a sense of relaxation and random eye movement, while the brain experiences vivid dreams. Sleep deprived individuals often do not reach the REM sleep stage.
If you find that you do not dream while asleep, or you know that you are sleep deprived and cannot find a way to a peaceful night’s sleep on your own, consider a consultation with a sleep specialist. Receiving fewer than six hours of sleep a night, consistently, for two weeks has the same effects on one’s body as not sleeping for 24 hours straight. Do not ignore your sleep deprivation, get help, and rest well.