The Times West Virginian

February 19, 2013

Numerous benefits

Establishing a good sleep pattern is key to improving health

By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Sleep can improve a person’s life in many ways and has many benefits.

Jackie Sirk, a polysomnographer at Fairmont General Hospital’s Sleep Lab, said getting sleep is very important when it comes to feeling good.

“Sleep is your body’s way of regenerating,” she said.

People who don’t get enough sleep tend to have higher blood pressure and retaining information becomes slower. Sirk said people not getting enough sleep can have some memory loss.

“Dreaming is the part of sleep that helps you retain what you’ve learned through the day,” she said.

Sirk said sleep apnea is a constant state of sleep deprivation where people fall asleep but then stop breathing and their mind wakes them.

Like sleep apnea, when people are sleep deprived on purpose — perhaps they go to sleep late and wake up early — it can affect their blood pressure and heart. Getting eight hours of sleep a night is the normal amount of hours adults should sleep.

“If you deprive yourself willingly of sleep by not giving yourself that opportunity to get that eight hours of sleep, you’re going around in that constant state of sleep deprivation,” Sirk said.

If a person doesn’t get a full eight hours of sleep, taking a nap during the day can help. Sirk said taking a nap for no longer than 30 minutes, also known as a power nap, can help.

“That doesn’t take you into REM state, and that’s a good thing during the day,” she said.

Going into REM sleep during the day takes the mind into the dream state and Sirk said that will cause a person to wake up feeling tired.


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