Ah, sleep, we all need it, but rarely ever get enough of it. Do you get your 6-8 hours of shut-eye a night?
In this day and age, it seems like sleeping has taken a back seat in our lives as we continue to glorify busy and bustling lifestyles that carry on into the late hours of the night. It may seem like cutting your sleep schedule leads to you getting more items done off your to-do list, but in reality, you are negatively affecting your health. Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellbeing.
So whether you’re a busy bee or you have insomnia, here are a few reasons why you should make sleep a priority.
More Sleep = Better Productivity
Cutting down your hours of sleep may help you complete your projects or finish that book, but it is also leading to a decrease in your productivity and performance. Studies have shown that sleep is important for various aspects of brain function, including productivity, cognition, and concentration. In many instances, a lack of sleep links to decreased academic or work performance.
Enhance Exercise Performance
More sleep can help to significantly improve speed, accuracy, reaction times, and mental well-being when it comes to exercise.
Helps Your Metabolism
Those suffering from lack of sleep tend to weigh more than those who are getting adequate sleep, according to research. The science behind this is because, during your sleep cycles, your body uses that time to convert calories to energy. This process is known as your metabolism. When your body cannot go through this energy conversion process during your sleep cycle, all the unused energy gets stored as fat.
Improves Your Mental Health
Many of those who report a lack of sleep, whether due to insomnia or another sleep-affecting disorder, may also be dealing with depression. Due to a lack of sleep, your body cannot function at its highest potential, leading to low performance in daily activities, reduced concentration, imbalanced appetites, and mental and physical exhaustion.
If you are dealing with sleep disorders or are just having trouble falling asleep, there are plenty of resources and tips to assist you. For example, participating in a sleep study based on your doctor's recommendations can help you get to the bottom of your sleeping issues and get a head start on how to address them. For those struggling with anxiety or depression, we encourage you to reach out to a therapist or even try meditation as a way to calm down your mind. Resources such as Talkspace, Calm, and Headspace are great resources to assist with your mental health and get your sleep schedule back on track.
Prevents Health Issues
Long-term health issues such as type 2 diabetes and Crohn's disease are linked to lack of sleep because of energy conversion. With type 2 diabetes, if your body is not given the time to convert during your sleep, it can adversely affect your blood sugar levels, leading to pre diabetes and type 2 diabetes. With Crohn's disease, this is created by long-term inflammation of the digestive tract. Inadequate sleep is linked to inflammation as well. A study has shown that those with Crohn’s disease who are sleep-deprived were twice as likely to relapse to those who get enough sleep.
Improves Immune Function
Loss of sleep can impact your immune function. If you get ill, your body needs the appropriate time to rest, fight off the disease cells and recover. If you often get colds, ensuring that you get at least 8 hours of sleep per night could be very helpful.
HOW TO ACHIEVE THAT PERFECT SLEEP:
Don't oversleep - it can be just as negatively impacting
Have a warm bath or shower if you feel restless at night
Avoid stimulants in the afternoon and night (coffee, energy drinks and the like)
Aerobic exercise can tire you out and you may notice sleep comes faster (lifting weights or performing strenuous exercise at night may have the opposite effect)
Set up a good environment for sleep with a comfortable temperature minus the television, mobile phone or any disturbing noises
Sleep at a similar time each night to accustom your body to a ritual
Avoid sleeping in on the weekend to avoid that jet lag feeling
In the end, sleep can is seen as the action that keeps your body running at its fullest potential, and it should not be taken lightly. So get plenty of it!
How many hours of sleep do you get a night? Let me know in the comments below.