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Need Sleep

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Daylight Savings time occurs in the month of March. We shift our clocks forward and lose an hour of sleep. Moving clocks forward for Daylight Savings occurred March 11, 2018 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

According to National Transportation Safety Board, “Traffic accidents increase during this time.” When we lose an hour of sleep, we lose mental restoration, also known as Rapid Eye Movement sleep. This loss causes us to be prone to behavioral changes, such as, slower reaction times, irritability, memory loss, fatigue, and more.

These negative character flaws apply when we’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, piloting an aircraft, or conducting our every day missions and will contribute simple mistakes, therefore causing unnecessary mishaps. We need our sleep!

The right amount of Sleep

Lyrics from Bon Jovi, “Sleep When I’m Dead”, promotes individuals to have less sleep to use that time for more fun and later make up for that loss of sleep when dead. This is further from the truth.

In all actuality, if the Bon Jovi lifestyle is what you choose, you’ll be dead a lot sooner than those who get sleep. Your body needs sleep, as much as it needs water, food, air, and shelter.

When limiting sleep to cram for that final exam, catch up on work at home, or binge watch Netflix, you are sacrificing the body’s ability to restore physical and mental health by skipping out on the needed REM and Non-REM sleep cycles. REM is responsible for mental restoration for example memories, learning and balancing mood and Non-REM is responsible for physical restoration like muscle repair, tissue growth, energy restored, hormones are released.

The National Sleep Foundations stated the adult population requires between 7 to 9 hours of sleep. The military population is receiving a lot less. 40% of active duty military members report sleeping five hours or fewer per night. The military is missing out on the needed REM.
Mental repair is being sacrificed for those late nights. When waking up the next day from your 5 hour sleep session, it might take 20-30 minutes for those cobwebs to start clearing up and the feeling of sleepiness starts to fade. For most, they need the assistance of caffeine to get them awake and get going!

Coffee, energy drinks, soda, and candy are the go to products individuals revert to, to limit the, “not punch someone in the face” mood. Understandably so. Half way through the day, this feeling starts to creep up again, so more caffeine is consumed.

Finally the day is over, night is setting in, and it’s time to sleep, but wait! One TV show isn’t going to hurt, or that final paper is due, or you need to stay up and get ready for your shift work that starts the next night. Whatever the reason for staying up, the fact of the matter is you are decreasing your body’s capability to restore itself.

Breaking the Bad Habit

Stop the excuses and get into bed. Limit your caffeine intake, especially five hours before you go to sleep. Get into a good routine to let your body know it’s about to be bed time. Experts have stated going to bed at the same time every night sets yourself up for success and ahead of the power curve.

Stop use of electronics, put your cell phone down, and record those TV shows. This will help melatonin develop to decrease your alertness level. Lower the temperature in the room to 65 - 67 degrees. When your core temperature is slightly lowered, this tells your body it’s time to sleep.

If you get into bed and you’re tossing and turning for more than 30 minutes, get up and sit in a different room until you feel you are ready to try again. NO ELECTRONICS! This will not happen over night (pun in-tended) but with repetition, you will start to see and feel the benefits of these good habit patterns. Overall your body takes care of you, so do it the same favor and take care of it. Get that needed 7 - 8 hours of sleep.

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