In today’s competitive and global environment facilitated by instant technology tools and systems, many professionals regard sleep as a luxury for lazy teens, the elderly, or the less ambitious. Even if they believe that eating and exercising are important for maintaining their stride, the thought is if anything can be sacrificed, it’s sleep. But sleep is among the most important factors in maintaining good physical health and mental acuity. Sleep is a restorative function that the body requires to replenish energy and vitality and perform at its best, says Dr. Steven Y. Park, a national expert in sleep medicine, head of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at New York’s Montefiore Hospital, and author of Sleep, Interrupted: A physician reveals the #1 reason why so many of us are sick and tired (Jodev Press L.L.C. ; $24.99).
In fact, inadequate sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and health conditions–such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and depression. In Slater’s case, chronic breathing challenges led to difficulty sleeping. He was averaging four hours a night.Â As a result, his lack of sleep may have caused increased electrical activity in the brain, which resulted in seizure-like bouts of unconsciousness. “I slept sitting up, if not I would be totally congested.â€ Cross-Atlantic flights took on nightmarish proportions, Slater recalls. “The higher the altitude, the more congested I got and the more difficulty I had breathing.â€
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