If you’re burning the candle at both ends, yet eat healthy and workout regularly, you’re only getting part of the healthy benefits. You’ve neglected to acknowledge the importance of a good nights sleep, as many Americans do. Even people who rigorously stick to healthy eating and workouts sometimes act as though it’s noble to skip sleep, but it’s not. One healthy behavior most people fail to achieve is get adequate, consistent sleep. Lack of sleep comes with health risks. You may be one of those rare individuals that don’t need a lot of sleep and can survive on as little as six hours a night, but the average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours with a small number at the other end of the spectrum requiring 10 hours.
You may be asleep at night, but your brain is working hard.
There’s a purpose for sleep, besides resting your body. Your brain is organizing everything and getting ready to reboot. All the day’s input is organized and neural paths for memory are created to create complete memories with feelings, sensory input and associations together. Your brain processes everything that happened that day while you sleep, improving your memory of events and information.
Your body needs healing time and rest.
The body repairs itself during sleep, so it’s more than just helping you stay alert. Cutting short your sleep hours does more than leave you feeling sleepy, it stresses the body, too. If you’ve ever tried to push through the day after being up all night, you know how stressful that can be. Stress comes at a price. That price comes from the changes made to the body under stress and the hormones like cortisol. Stress hormones are linked with inflammation and inflammation is linked to serious conditions like coronary disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
If you want to lose weight, make sure you stick with an adequate sleep schedule.
You already know that lack of sleep can send stress hormones, like cortisol, throughout your body. You may not know that cortisol is linked to abdominal fat. You also may not realize that lack of sleep can through your hormones out of whack. According to recent studies, the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which are hunger and satiation hormones, are out of balance in people who don’t sleep enough. That can lead to overeating. Another diet busting factor is that lack of sleep can cause you to crave sugar for a quick boost of energy. That also starts off the roller coaster of blood sugar spikes and then lows that require even more sugar.
- There is such a thing as too much sleep and it can be as bad as too little. If you’re sleeping a lot, yet still feel tired, check with your doctor to make sure you’re not ill. It’s also a sign of depression. Getting up earlier may actually improve your overall mood and energy level.
- Getting adequate sleep will keep you younger looking. Not only will you have less cell damage to the skin that occurs from the inflammation, you’ll also appear more energetic and be less prone to premature aging.
- A dark room is important for good sleep. Shut off all electronic devices, too. While you might fall asleep quicker in front of the TV, it’s not quality sleep.
- A nap mid-day not only can help reduce sleep deficit, it also can boost your energy level when you need it most. Many famous people and heads of industry use power naps to keep their energy levels high.