In our house, we’ve been discussing these new government guidelines on how much sleep you should have a night, with the recommended amount to stay healthy being seven hours. The thing I keep questioning and don’t understand is, how if you can’t, do you make sure that you can get the proper amount of sleep?
Do you get someone to hit you over the head every night and time the hours so that you get seven hours recommended kip? I wish someone could explain it to me, because if you can’t sleep, you can’t sleep. Someone saying that you need that amount or else, puts us in the position of thinking we’re doomed that if by some miracle you can’t get spot on seven hours. I hope you understand what I mean, as it something that’s puzzled me for a long time.
How Much Sleep?
Having been an insomniac for over twenty years, with a sleep pattern of two to three hours a night, I should be in the green bin by now, ready for recycling.
I lost my sleep pattern because cancer knocked my mind sideways and for some reason made me unable to sleep. How, for all this time, I literally dragged myself from day to day, I’ll never know. But with a house and garden to run and a mum with the same needs, I look back and wondered how on earth I managed. I do know that I felt so ill the whole time.
I asked my doctor about it time after time. He gave me a weeks muscle relaxant tablets with the understanding that I couldn’t have any more. Because GP’s were worried about dishing out sleeping pills as they are addictive, I got nothing else!
The Worst Thing You Can Do
I now know, as probably most of you do, that to go without sleep is one of the worst things you can do. We all need a certain amount of shuteye or we feel pretty rough. But it seems that we’re all getting 25% less sleep than we did 50 years ago.
Sleep resets the brain and recalibrates every system in your body, night after night. There’s no wonder I got funny looks all that time that I couldn’t sleep, as people must have thought that the white faced, black eyed zombie in front of them was probably going to nick a pint of their blood.
As we know, research uncovers the staggering facts that people who sleep just 5 hours a night are four times more likely to catch a cold than someone who gets 12 hours. Gosh the last time I got 12 hours was when I was young and needed lots of sleep!
This research reveals that there’s a 24% increase in heart attacks as a result of too little sleep. That’s me clobbered for a start then. Funnily enough, when the clocks are altered and we get an extra hours sleep there is a 21% reduction in heart attacks!
And another thing…
Another study found that if you sleep for 4 hours a night, just for one single hour there is a 70% drop in critical cancer fighting immune cells.
Sleep also affects blood sugar levels and lack of it causes loads of things from depression to anxiety. My, we are in a state aren’t we, us fellow insomniacs.
The good news is that all these awful things can be reversed if we get more sleep. Which leads me back to my opening sentences where I asked how on earth do you get the required amount of sleep if you can’t sleep? Barmy I call it. Unless there’s a stampede to the docs begging for sleeping tablets as your body is going to implode with all the terrible things that happen to you if you don’t get enough sleep.
How much sleep do I get now?
Luckily I now manage 6 hours sleep by and large, and that’s because of painkillers I take at night for my weary bones. If I did the recommended 7 hours I would put the flag up, as with me it’s always 6 or less.
Lots and lots of people out there suffer from lack of sleep, whether it’s from worries, illness or whatever. It all starts revolving round and round in your mind when sleep evades you. I always find that in the night when you can’t sleep your worries always seem to be a thousand times worse, why I don’t know, but your problems seem so much worse than they do in the morning.
Hopefully I haven’t frightened to death the people who don’t get the amount of sleep that they should. I take it with a pinch of salt (oh eck that’s my blood pressure up) as I was so ill for so many years because of it, never mind driving my long suffering family up the wall, and I’m still pounding the pavements as they say. If doctors can’t find a solution and you can’t sleep I’m sure they sky won’t fall in or any such thing, so go and have a good nights sleep on me!
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