The Importance of Sleep 💤

Most people are not getting enough sleep. And many of you, the sleep you get is mediocre at best. Your bodies NEED good, solid, restful sleep…and lots of it. Maintaining adequate amounts of quality sleep is essential to your optimal health and well-being. How sleep deprivation affects you:

YOU’RE MORE LIKELY TO GAIN WEIGHT
Leptin, your satiety hormone, is significantly reduced when you are sleep deprived. Since leptin plays an important role in appetite control and metabolism, having low levels of this hormone results in hunger not being naturally suppressed. Therefore, your appetite and cravings increase.

 

YOU ARE AT A HIGHER RISK FOR ILLNESS
Your body is more susceptible to stress without a good night’s sleep. The immune system does not function optimally, and inflammatory proteins and blood sugar levels rise in response to lower levels of insulin being released throughout the night. All of these negative effects on the body contribute to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and infection.

 

YOUR RISK OF INJURY INCREASES
When you are exhausted, both physically and mentally, there is an increased risk of injury, errors, and accidents. This tired state of mind may lead to mishaps like stubbing your toe, cutting yourself in the kitchen, or getting into a car accident.

 

YOUR BRAIN DOES NOT FUNCTION OPTIMALLY
There are measurable changes in brain activity that occur after
a period of sleep deprivation. When you do not get a sufficient amount of sleep your mental performance suffers, impairing your ability to process new information and memories and impacting your overall mood, focus, and high-level cognitive function.

 

YOU ARE MORE LIKELY TO STRUGGLE WITH YOUR EMOTIONS
Without sufficient rest, you may have trouble keeping your emotions in check. Increased feelings of irritability, anxiety, sadness, and anger are common. You may even find that you are more vulnerable to laughing or crying regardless of what you are experiencing.

 

How much sleep do you actually need? Adults 18+ years require 7-9 hours of sleep per night to allow critical bodily activities to take place. Those activities are:

• Internal organs rest and recover – tissue repair, muscle growth, and protein synthesis primarily occur during sleep.

• Hormones are released and help to regulate appetite control, stress, growth, metabolism, and other bodily functions.

• Memory consolidation occurs, allowing for the formation and storage of new memories, which is essential for learning new information.

Follow these 9 steps towards better sleep:

  1. Maintain a consistent daily schedule
  2. Reduce your daily intake of caffeine
  3. Turn off the computer or television
  4. Don’t go to bed on a full or empty stomach
  5. Engage in regular exercise
  6. Limit beverage consumption before bed
  7. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet
  8. Invest in comfortable bedding
  9. Go to sleep and wake up using your internal clock

 

*Photo courtesy of John Carter at http://shutterbrothersphoto.com

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