Recent studies of potential astronauts simulating a 17-month trip to Mars have demonstrated what most of us already know but try to ignore. We need our sleep!

Seven to eight hours a day is a minimum to prevent poor attention, poor memory retention, trouble learning, job accidents, driving accidents, and irritability. Also, our immune systems suffer if we don’t get enough sleep. It is alright to break it up as long as you get at least four or five hours at once. But our circadian rhythms, which tell us to sleep when it is nighttime make nighttime sleep the most effective and keep us alert and balanced best through the day.

So whatever your schedule, as a student, worker, parent, or jetsetter, get enough sleep. If you know you will have a strange couple of days, like a plane flight or an all-nighter before an exam, be sure to get plenty of sleep ahead of time. Also, a huge amount of evidence is accumulating that our tendency to not get enough sleep in America today is a huge contributing factor to the epidemic of obesity.

Said David Dinges, chief of the Perelman School of Medicine’s Sleep and Chronobiology Division, who helped with the astronaut’s studies, told the reporter for the Pennsylvania Gazette: “There is a large body of scientific evidence to suggest that the single most effective daily enhancer of our performance, our moods, motivations, and ability to do things safely and effectively – as well as control our appetites, particularly food intake – is appropriately timed and appropriate duration sleep.”

They still have to figure out how to do that for astronauts on their way to Mars, but here on earth we should take note and get enough sleep, setting a good example and direction as well for our children. Said Dinges, you need a healthy sleep environment, quiet, cool, and dark.

If you want to learn more about a truly healthy sleep environment, contact me about the unique life-changing Nikken sleep system – mattress topper, quilt, and pillow –  I have been using it for over 14 years and know it has helped to keep me and my husband healthy and youthful.

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