Forty Winks

Posted: September 3, 2007 in Bureauacracy, Health, Homelessness

Although the human body is a remarkably, intricately designed mechanism, it does have its limits. And, it requires quite a bit of maintenance if it is to function at its optimum level. One of the ways that we can help maintain this level is through proper rest: sleep.

Studies have shown that there are a myriad of consequences associated with the lack of adequate sleep. But the amount of time is just one part of the equation – quality of sleep is equally important.  

According to the National Sleep Foundation’s website, an article called: "What Happens When You Sleep" says that when the quantity AND quality of sleep is interrupted:

"…the body doesn’t have time to complete all of the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite. Then we wake up less prepared to concentrate, make decisions, or engage fully in school and social activities."

Persons who are homeless, as a consequence of living life on the streets, tend to have poor sleeping habits. This is due to many factors – among them is the need to find a "safe" place to sleep, which for those who are forced to sleep out of doors can create additional stress.

Even among those homeless who are able to sleep in shelter beds, their sleep is generally less healthy than for those who are non-homeless.

Because the homeless are among those who are lacking in proper sleep, they are vulnerable to many serious health issues such as: high blood pressure, diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, as well as mental and emotional breakdowns. And, because the homeless are generally unable to afford medical treatment, the bills are inevitably paid for by the taxpayers.

With the numbers of homeless on the increase, it seems to me that it would be in our best interest to find ways of reducing the numbers of homeless by promoting and developing effective and innovative ways of reintegrating them back into the community.

In the long run, it would actually be less expensive to create and develop ways of helping the homeless become productive members of society, than it will be if we just continue on the path we’re currently on.

Of course, the first step is to get out elected leaders thinking in logically ways… and that may be ultimately harder than helping the homeless.

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