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- the four fundamental processes that make sleep integral to human health
- the amount of sleep most adults need
Sleep is one of nature’s most powerful mechanisms. A complex and active process of repair and rejuvenation, sleep is far from the “system shut-down” it seems to be.
There are two main states of sleep: Rapid-Eye-Movement (REM) and non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM).
REM sleep is a lighter stage of sleep where dreams and physical movement may occur. NREM is a deeper sleep state with 4 stages, each categorized with its own level of brain activity.
”“With sleep, we reset our memory, reduce metabolic demand on the brain, and stay alert. Nothing is more fundamental than that.”Dr. David Dinges
Where NREM sleep is focused on restoration of the body, REM sleep is devoted to repair and rejuvenation of the brain.
The science of sleep is largely the science of the human brain–a world scientists have only scratched the surface of. Yet, we know enough about sleep to know its immense impact on our health and safety.
Why sleep is important
Simply put, sleep:
• promotes immune system strength, response, and memory1
• triggers the removal of harmful neurotoxins from the brain2
• allows tissue repair and regeneration3
• aids in the formation and consolidation of memory4
Without sleep, these fundamental processes integral to the health of our minds and bodies are not able to function. This is especially important in safety-sensitive industries. A sleep-deprived person will struggle to learn and perform tasks, stay alert and responsive to an ever-changing environment, and maintain their health and wellness.
Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep…
And, nearly 40% of Americans get less than that. Culturally, it has become a point of pride to get by on little to no sleep. But, it turns out that just 1 in 10,000 people can function well on less than 6 hours of sleep per day (due to a genetic mutation)5. The rest are sleep deprived, and are more fatigued than they realize.
A 2013 report from the UK Sleep Council found that 33% of Britons get 5 to 6 hours a night, compared with 27% in 2010. This increasing prevalence of sleep deprivation means many are operating on less sleep daily than their bodies need. And this isn’t just leading to fatigue on the job. Health issues like heart disease, pain, cancer and more have been linked to insufficient sleep6.
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