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Sleep: A Biological Necessity (From Mr NANA, Provincial High School of Kaya)

Millions of people experience frustrations and stress associated with the lack of sleep. Many others such as doctors, drivers, mothers with young children, teachers… are among those who are vulnerable to being robbed of the sleep their bodies require. Sleep is absolutely a necessity and it is more than a simple rest. It is actually a complicated process of muscles tensing and relaxing, pulse and blood pressure rising and the mind turning out its own home movies. Being asleep, the heart-beat and breathing rate slow down and the immune system reinforced; the general clean-up work carried on through the blood-stream operates efficiently and the chemical balance is restored. It restores energy to the body, especially the brain and the nervous system.
All age-groups, younger or older people, are concerned with sleep. But the length of time spent during sleep varies according to or even within each age-group depending on its resistance. Sleep itself works in cycles of deeper sleep alternating within lighter sleep.
However? Chronic lack of sleep can have dire consequences both for ourselves and those around us. When deprived of sleep, we lose energy and we become quick-tempered. In such conditions lengthy concentration becomes difficult, bringing out mistakes and attention slips. This may result in difficulties to think, see and hear clearly or have periods of delirium.
According to Dr. Jeffrey J. Lipsitz, we must sleep in secure, quiet, dark surroundings on a comfortable bed. Caffeine, heavy exercises and large meals before bedtime are enemies of sleep. Being awakened during bedtime or changing one’s regular sleeping hours should be prohibited to restore a sound rest.

Adapted from Awake! June 8, 1995, PP; 17-19
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