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Sleep to live

Sleep, or at least a daily period of rest, has likely been part of life since the beginning of evolutionary time. In humans, sleep patterns have changed over the centuries, even if our need for sleep has not. At various periods throughout history, people have gone to great lengths to make sleep more comfortable and safer, or to incorporate sleep into their lives to a greater or lesser extent. Many of our ideas about sleep have varied from culture to culture as well as in response to the growth of scientific understanding. This timeline traces the path of our approach to and understanding of sleep throughout human history. Most people don’t get enough sleep. We are a society that burns the candle at both ends, a nation where people stay up all night to study, work, or have fun. However, going without adequate sleep carries with it both short- and long-term consequences. Hence, it might seem logical for every fitness oriented and health conscious person that enough sleep and a good sleeping quality are key factors for health, longevity and performance. More and more studies point to the risks which can appear by lack of sleeping or decreased sleeping quality.

These risks can be:

  • A negative influence on the growth
  • Increased risk for obesity (by lower physical activity & increased food intake)
  • Higher perception of pain & increased muscular pain
  • Increasing risk for diabetes & causes the increase of insulin resistance
  • Impairing the cognitive efficiency & memory performance

There are just a few subjects out there, which are as controversially debated such as sleep. Almost every day influential personalities tweet and share something like "Sleep enough, because it is as important as adequate movement and deliberate nutrition."

This has been sufficient to fuel my interest in this field even further and to extensively face up to the sleep topic. We all have some sense of the relationship between sleep and our ability to function throughout the day. After all, everyone has experienced the fatigue, bad mood, or lack of focus that so often follow a night of poor sleep. What many people do not realize is that a lack of sleep - especially on a regular basis - is associated with long-term health consequences, including chronic medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart diseases and that these conditions may lead even to a shortened life expectancy.