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Sleep Like A Baby

Most adults need about seven to eight hours of sleep a night. But let's be honest- how many of us actually get that? Be from the hustle and bustle of getting late-night homework assignments in, finishing that last load of laundry, playing one more game or helping kids get to bed- sleep deprivation is very common and it may be at a higher cost than you think.

Sleep deprivation increases the risk for heart attacks. In fact, one study conducted on Japanese workers found that the employees who slept less than six hours a night were four to five times more likely to have a cardiac arrest than those who had more sleep.

In addition, sleep deprivation can increase the risk for diabetes and obesity. When someone does not get sufficient sleep, their body creates more of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, which increases hunger- so when you get hangry or you can't seem to stop eating your favorite snack, thank ghrelin!

It's important to get into a nice deep sleep because it is here that our body produces more growth hormone to help us grow (I must have had little deep sleep as a child lol). It also assists in keeping our immune system, body temperature and blood pressure at optimum levels.

For those that are cramming away in school, keep in mind that getting a good amount of sleep is just as important as getting those study sessions in. Sleeping helps us to consolidate information we have learned. During sleep, our brains sift through all of the information collected throughout the day and conveniently decides which information to keep in the front lines, so to speak, for easy retrieval. This editing helps to improve memory and recall.

According to a recent study, the brain will also do a midnight sweep. During sleep, fluids wash over the brain and removes toxins. If only it would mop the kitchen floor while it was at it!

So now that we know how important sleep is - we will all just go to bed tonight and sleep wonderfully, right? I hope so! But unfortunately, sleep does not come easy for everyone. This is where massage might be helpful. Massage is a wonderful way to decompress and take a break from any worries or stressors. During a massage, the brain releases a neurotransmitter called serotonin which helps the body naturally feel calm. It is believed that through this mechanism, those that get regular massages have also experienced a reduction in anxiety and depression.

Massage can also help to reduce pain. I am always surprised when people tell me how their pain has kept them up at night! Working out the knots and the aches and pains will help people be able to relax and have a deeper night's sleep. One study conducted on subjects with low back pain who received 30-minute massages biweekly for five weeks reported that the subjects had less pain and were able to sleep better. But you don't have to take their word for it, come in and see for yourself!

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