www.whyville.net Oct 18, 2009 Weekly Issue

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Good Night, Sleep Tight!

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I often hear people bragging about their sleeping habits, saying things like, "I stayed up until midnight," or, "I only got four hours of sleep!" Why is it so fashionable to stay up late? I would rather get the rest I need! I decided to dive into the Internet and learn more about sleep.

Did you know you can stay alive longer without food than without sleep? Your body needs rest more than it needs food! You body needs to take a break from being constantly on the go. While we are sleeping, our brain is recharged and dead cells and tissue are repaired. While you are asleep, growth hormones are released, and these control your physical and mental development.

I also learned about the stages of sleep. The first stage is basically light sleep. You can repeatedly wake up and fall back asleep. You lose control of muscle movements and you feel sleepy. I like to call this stage "the falling asleep in class" stage.

Stage two of sleep is when eyes stop moving and brain waves slow down. Temperature and heart rate drop. This stage is nearly half of the entire sleep period.

Stages 3 and 4 are deep sleep. Brain waves are exceptionally slow and there is no muscle movement.

The Rapid Eye Movement stage, which occupies one-fourth of all sleeping time, is when you dream. If you sleep for about nine hours, you will experience REM 4 or 5 times a night.

Sleep is more important the younger you are. If you are unsure how much sleep you need, here is the information:

Babies: Babies sleep for a long time, around 16 hours a day!
Children: Young children need as much as 14 hours, but the older they get the less they need. They can get their sleep from a combination of night time and naps.
Teenagers: Sleep is especially important for teens because of hormones. Teens need about nine hours of sleep.
Adults: The average is about 7-8 hours, but sometimes it depends on the adult.
Elderly People: Elderly people need about 8-9 hours of sleep, but they usually sleep for little bits at a time.

Here are some tips for a good night's sleep:

1. Don't drink water or any liquid 1-2 hours before going to bed. You don't want to repeatedly get up to go to the bathroom.
2. Don't eat a meal (especially a large one) 2-3 hours before sleep.
3. Make sure you can't see your alarm clock. When you can, you get stressed thinking about how much sleep-time you have left.
4. This may sound weird, but if you only sleep in your bed, you will sleep better! For instance, if you do homework or play video games in your bed you will associate the bed with activities that keep you alert! So do things activities like that somewhere else.
5. Too noisy? Try thicker curtains, a rug on the floor, or even ear plugs.

Let's all try to be better about our sleeping habits. I challenge you to get a good night's rest every night. You will perform better in school, be less grumpy, and you won't be constantly yawning!

Good Night!

Author's Note: Sources:


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