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How Sleep Aids Wellness and Anger Management

Contrary to what you may have always thought, sleep is not a waste of time. It can protect your mental health and aid your anger management efforts. Sleep is an essential tool in the human nervous system’s effort to survive.

In an evolutionary sense, sleep protects you by removing you from an otherwise harmful environment — your cavemen ancestors were at a distinct disadvantage at night compared to the predators of the day.

Sleep also plays a restorative function, both physically and psychologically. It helps you to recover from the events of the previous day and prepares you to meet tomorrow’s challenges. Most important, sleep restores lost energy. Finally, sleep plays a crucial role in physical development, especially in children and adolescents — for example, during sleep the pituitary gland releases a growth hormone.

Perhaps the easiest way for you to appreciate what sleep does for you is to see what happens when you’re sleep deprived. The following are just a few symptoms of chronic sleep deprivation:

  • Suppression of disease-fighting immune system function (in other words, you’re more likely to get a cold or the flu)

  • Increased irritability

  • Impaired creativity

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Impaired memory

  • Obesity

  • High blood pressure

  • Reduced problem-solving ability

  • Inefficiency at work

  • Being prone to accidents

  • Driver fatigue

  • Road rage

  • Pessimism and sadness

  • Early signs of diabetes

  • Slurred speech

  • Lower tolerance for stress

  • Impaired coping abilities

  • Slower reaction time

  • Impaired decision-making abilities

  • Rigid thought patterns (not being able to look at a situation in more than one way)

  • Hallucinations

  • Emotional outbursts

  • Increased potential for violence

  • Reduced muscle strength

  • Loss of stamina/endurance

To figure out if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, ask yourself the following eight questions. If you answer yes to three or more, you’re definitely behind on your sleep.

  • Is it a struggle for you to get out of bed in the morning?

  • Do you often fall asleep while watching TV?

  • Do you fall asleep in boring meetings at work?

  • Do you often fall asleep after eating a heavy meal?

  • Do you have dark circles around your eyes?

  • Do you typically sleep extra hours on the weekends?

  • Do you often feel drowsy while driving or riding in an automobile?

  • Do you often need a nap to get through the day?

People who suffer from Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), sleep apnea, alcoholism, or clinical depression, as well as those who do shift work, are at high risk for sleep deprivation.

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