Novo August 2020 Newsletter




By Dr. Vicki Alden

We have talked about the importance of nutrition and eating right and we’ve talked about exercise, both of which are basics of life-long good health.  Now we’ll move on to  the third basic need for health - sleep.  Yes, sleep.  We all probably sleep every night but all too many of us don’t get enough hours of good sleep on a regular basis to maintain lasting health.

Lets take a look at the positive world history of sleep.  Ancient cultures and religions revered sleep.  Sleep was so special that it was considered a luxury often unattainable by the general population.  It was, however,  the standard everyone believed could be achieved by living a good, proper life.  Because of the importance of sleep many ancient cultures had extensive sleep rituals and gods of sleep.  In ancient Egypt and Greece sleep and dreams were considered a sacred bridge to the divine, a means of transcendence.  Greeks had the god Hypnos and the Romans had Somnus, both of whom were worshiped to bring good sleep to those who believed and paid homage to them. In more recent history, Rene Descartes had a more scientific approach to the brain and sleep.  He focused on the importance of sleep and sleep’s restorative function for the brain.

Now we come to the United States.  Our history of advocating for enough good sleep is not nearly as positive.  Our country was founded on individualism, on the Puritan work ethic.  Both of which tend to put sleep at the bottom of the list of important daily heath habits.  Thomas Edison is said to have believed that sleep was a total waste of a persons time.  Thomas Jefferson was said to regard sleep as “an absurdity”, “a bad habit”. Both of these early American leaders added to deeply ingraining the unimportance of getting enough sleep.  

We all need seven to eight hours of good sleep every night.  Let’s briefly look at some who regularly get 5 hours - or less - sleep each night and are definitely sleep deprived: automobile drivers, truck drivers, train drivers, airline pilots, physicians, nurses, elected officials police, military to name a few.

We will continue with more sleep information and ways to get much needed good sleep in future posts.  For now lets end with a brief suggestion that you can implement to begin your journey to enough good sleep.  Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning.  This ritual must become part of your daily sleep schedule.  Just do it and keep in touch with your results.    

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