Thursday, February 25, 2010


My mother belongs to a speakers forum. Once a month, the members meet for a social morning, and one of them will give a talk on something they have experienced or researched. My mother is giving the talk this month, and the topic she has chosen is "Fatal familial insomnia". This is a very rare disease, symptomised by total and complete lack of sleep. There is currently no treatment available - gene therapy may be useful, once the gene in question has been isolated. But until then, it is, literally, a killer. Sufferers die from total exhaustion. So it seems that sleep is as essential to our health and well-being as food and water.

Oddly enough, I have been thinking about sleep for a while now, even before I knew about my mother's up-coming talk. I love my sleep.

From various reasearch done since the mid 1950s, an average adult sleep-need has been calculated.
Apparently, adults (including the elderly) require 7 to 8 hours sleep a night, and if we don't get it we run into 'sleep-deficit' which is detrimental to health.

Lack of sleep can be a risk factor for weight gain, high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes - all conditions that we normally associate with food! Too little sleep definitely leads to irritability, lethargy, memory lapses, impaired cognitive function and a weakened immune system.

So for optimal health, eat wisely and sleep well.

By the way, if you are pregnant you need more than 8 hours sleep a night - perhaps to help you through those first few months of night feeding.


Anonymous said...

might interest your mother to read my book the family that couldn't sleep, all about the disease--dt max

Sphinx said...

thanks for that, dt. i will pass the info on to her.
what a dreadful disease! i know how irritated i get with myself when i don't get enough sleep. but at least i always get some.
thanks for stopping by.