20 June 2013

Not enough sleep

...is bad for you.

I always believed so.

But with today's lifestyle: adults sleeping late because of lots of entertainment options; children sleeping late due to the sheer pressure of school work; it is hard to get the proper amount of sleep.

I personally love my sleep. I sleep in when I get the chance. And afternoon naps? Love them!

Cheating Ourselves of Sleep which appeared in the New York Times said:
Think you do just fine on five or six hours of shut-eye? Chances are, you are among the many millions who unwittingly shortchange themselves on sleep.

Research shows that most people require seven or eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life. From infancy to old age, the effects of inadequate sleep can profoundly affect memory, learning, creativity, productivity and emotional stability, as well as your physical health.

Children can also experience hormonal disruptions from inadequate sleep. Growth hormone is released during deep sleep; it not only stimulates growth in children, but also boosts muscle mass and repairs damaged cells and tissues in both children and adults.

I am  particularly worried about children. I think children in Asia sleep less than their counterparts in the Western world. Even as close by as Australia, I know friends who tuck their children into bed as early as 8pm at night!

What are Malaysian children doing at 8pm? Some are having dinner; some are doing their homework; some are attending tuition classes. And as late as 10pm, I have seen Malaysian parents out in Jaya Jusco or at hawker centres with their kids as young as 3 years old. Malaysians somehow don't seem to value sleep.

I am among the very few moms who still give afternoon naps to my kids at least twice a week (they are 12 and 8). Definitely on weekends. I find time on weekdays, if their homework load is not too heavy, I tell my kids to have a lie-down for 45 minutes or so. Once they are asleep, they usually get up only after an hour! They are tired.

I see kids in my children's school who attend tuition after tuition class, tons of homework, no naps, no physical outlet, no pets. Just books and computer games. They look pale, mostly bespectacled, thin and short for their age group.                  

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