“Who has time to sleep?”
“I don’t need much sleep- I can operate on less”
In our constantly ‘busy’ and on-the-go society, a lack of sleep and weariness has become a badge of honor.
Less sleep -> more work/commitments = self importance
What many people are failing to realize is that a good night’s sleep is one of the essential keys to good health and a longer life. Get this, in 1998, 35 percent of American adults were logging 8 hours or more of sleep per night and by 2005, the numbers began to drop to only 26 percent. Many of you may say ‘what’s the big deal? I can operate just fine with only 4 hours of sleep and my body is in the best shape it’s been!’ To that, I would argue…could it be better?
3 Reasons to Get More Sleep
Researchers have begun to show more and more evidence that a lack of sleep over time can cause adults to have less control over their weight. Studies suggest sleep deprivation may influence weight through appetite control, physical activity and more.
Increasing hunger when you’re sleepy is not your imagination. A lack of sleep may alter hormones that control your hunger. Ghrelin and Leptin are two hormones released in your body to tell you when you’re hungry (ghrelin) and conversely when you’re full (leptin). In many cases, a decrease in sleep leads to an increase in ghrelin (hunger) and a decrease in leptin (satiety) often driving people to crave and eat foods rich in fat an carbohydrates when they’re sleepy. Now I’m not saying this gives you an excuse to nom on some pizza or scarf a bag of chips but it may explain why we tend to munch more when our Zzz’s are depleted.
Sleep Leads to Better Decision Making
Flexible thinking, while most-times is natural for us, is one of the brain functions that can be directly impacted after just one night without sleep. There have been numerous sleep studies that have tried to bridge the gap into a ‘real world’ scenario to show how this could have an impact on people’s jobs. Washington State University conducted a study measuring the ability for people to make decisions among a group of 26 healthy adults. Half of the group went 62 hours without sleep while the other half was allowed to rest. Interestingly enough, the sleep deprived people were initially able to make the ‘right’ decision when tested by doctors, but when information changed part-way through the study, participants without sleep were unable to adjust to the incoming information. If you were to draw a correlation to the ‘real world’ this could have major effects on job performance let alone any other daily tasks. It’s known that the foundation elements to process information rapidly in the brain are diminished which can also lead to a lack in short-term memory, ability to deal with distraction and slowing in reaction time.
Sleep Improves your Immune System
Ever wonder why you seem to get colds more easily when you haven’t slept? As is turns out, without proper pillow time our immune systems can become suppressed allowing viruses and infections to more easily thrive. Researchers have also shown that a lack of sleep can lead to bigger chronic health problems than the sniffles. According to Diwakar Balachandran, MD, director of the Sleep Center at the Univeristy of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, “The more sleep loss, the higher your levels of C-reactive protein will be.” This protein is a marker of inflammation and could play a role in heart disease. For me, the lack of sleep over the years (in addition to other lifestyle choices) has resulted in Stage III adrenal fatigue. You want to stay healthy? Follow the old wives tale and get some rest!
Healthy living has become so much more than just what foods you put in your mouth and how many hours of exercise you log in a week. Quality sleep can directly impact so many aspects of your life, it should be added into the equation.
Want to learn more about sleep? Here’s a few articles I loved and you will too!
Sleep Hours and Injury Rates- Runner’s World
Tips for a better night’s sleep- Young Living
Natural Sleeping Remedies- Healthline