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Not Just Talkin' The Talk

Are You Sleep Deprived?

By Linda Goldfarb
Certified Physical Fitness Specialist I was told the other day, “You must love what you do on the radio, you get to talk all the time!” It’s true, I do enjoy my radio show, but not because I get to talk; though I must admit I always have something to say. I enjoy the opportunity it gives me to encourage people to step out with boldness in the passions God has purposed for their lives.

One byproduct of having a radio program is the event speaking I am asked to do for multiple groups on a variety of subjects; one of my favorite topics, of course, is health and fitness. People are always telling me how they feel or asking advice pertaining to their fitness, and I’ve found most will say, “I’m doing well, except I have a hard time sleeping.” To which I quickly respond, “Then, really, you’re not doing well at all, are you?” It seems feeling “okay” doesn’t include a good night’s rest anymore.

Do you remember the story of the Sandman? I was told as a child the Sandman would come into our rooms at night and sprinkle sleep dust over us so we would have a restful night and get plenty of sleep. To this I ask, “Where’s the Sandman?” Truth is, if he did his job the same way today, he’d be arrested for trespassing and possible child abduction. Still… we all would like a good night’s sleep.

I will begin my series on sleep in this column. To get the rest of the story, you need to sign up for my newsletter online at my Web site. As a bonus, you will receive tips to balanced spiritual and relational fitness as well.

Do you wonder how anyone can sleep well with all of the mental and physical stimulants we are surrounded by on a daily basis? Me too. Most people take their lack of sleep for granted, and if asked whether sleep deprivation is a challenge, they would boldly deny even the thought of it. Let’s find out where you stand - or lie - concerning the matter of sleep.

The Cooper Institute in Dallas has devised a sleep quiz. Answer yes or no to the following questions. You may find you’re more tired than you thought.

  • Do you need an alarm clock to wake up on time?
  • Do you have a hard time getting out of bed or hit the snooze button to get more sleep?
  • Do you find yourself “nodding off” during a boring meeting, while watching TV, or while driving a car?
  • Do you fall asleep after heavy meals or after a low dose of alcohol?
  • Do you fall asleep within 5 minutes of getting to bed?
  • Do you look forward to the weekends when you can “catch up” on sleep?
  • Do you need a nap to get through the day?
  • Are you lacking physical stamina?
  • Is it hard to concentrate?
  • Do you have to slow down to do things correctly/accurately?
  • Do you forget what you did in the last few seconds?

All of these questions are indicators of lack of sleep. If you answered yes to any of them, you could be suffering from sleep loss.

You may be asking, “Why is sleep so important? Many people function fine on a few hours of sleep each day.” True, to the extent that you assume they are functioning “fine” on the outside. But based on how the human body is made, sleep is essential to optimum health.

Did you know there are functions the brain and body need to complete every day that can only be accomplished while we sleep? If we deprive our body of 8 to 10 hours of continuous sleep per day, we are in danger of sleep deprivation and the ill health that follows it.

We live in a society that is open 24/7, and with the World Wide Web, we can journey to far-off lands every night via gaming and chat rooms. Many people gladly sacrifice two hours of sleep to watch TV or to IM online, leaving only six hours of uninterrupted sleep – as opposed to the needed eight.

According to the Sleep Foundation, the trend toward sleeplessness is overwhelming:

  • 65% of us are not getting 8 hours of continuous sleep at night.
  • 31% of us are getting less than 7 hours of continuous sleep at night.
  • 10% suffer from chronic insomnia.
  • 70 million people have problems sleeping.

When we are sleep deprived, we acquire a sleep debt. Every night, as we withhold our deposits of sleep, we become overdrawn. At some point (a unique time frame based on each individual), we can no longer pay back our debt no matter how many naps, extended weekends, or vacations we take; this results in chronic partial sleep, which can lead to short- and long-term consequences for our body and brain.

My newsletter (sign up for it on my Web site) will cover the stages of sleep and aromatic options to gaining back a complete night’s sleep. Keep an eye out for my article “Sleep Snatchers”- what they are and what you can do about them.

As the “stuff” of this world crashes in around you, I encourage you to "Live Powerfully Now!" Embrace your passions and God’s purpose today. Are you struggling to pinpoint your passion? E-mail me and let’s talk. God has you here for a reason, and when His purpose meets the passion He has destined for your life, nothing will stop you from living powerfully.

Linda GoldfarbLinda Goldfarb is a certified physical fitness specialist, speaker, and syndicated radio talk show host. You can download her weekly “Not Just Talkin’ the Talk” radio broadcasts, a one hour variety talk show based out of San Antonio, Texas, at Linda’s show encourages listeners to “walk the walk” spiritually, physically, and relationally each and every day. Contact Linda to speak at your next event: (Photo Copyright © Lisa Pittman Photography).

Before beginning any new fitness program that requires a change in diet or exercise, it is recommended that you consult your physician for input. This informational series is not intended for medical or nutritional claims dependent on substantial clinical studies and FDA approval, and should not be construed as a claim for cure, treatment, or prevention of any disease.  It is intended solely for information and educational purposes. Linda is not a physician or expert in the medical field. She has been involved in the health and fitness industry as a personal trainer and fitness instructor for numerous years. The information given in these sessions have been derived from  books and materials brought together over the years from many sources, including her personal life experiences.

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