In today’s hectic, fast pace, gotta get it done world, many of us are sacrificing shut-eye. A recent survey found that more and more people are sleeping less than six hours a night, and sleep difficulties visit 75% of us at least a few nights per week.
Chronic sleep loss can contribute to health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and a decrease in the immune system’s effectiveness. While not everything is understood regarding the detrimental effects of sleep loss, it is known that getting enough quality sleep is essential for the body and mind to work optimally.
Here are six reasons from the Harvard Women’s Health Watch to make sure we get enough sleep!
1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
4. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
5. Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
6. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.
A consistent lack of sleep is a sign that our lives are out of balance. So instead of staying up later or getting up earlier to get more done, get the sleep you need and do things better and more efficiently. Sleep is maintenance for our body and mind. And like the car we rely on, the body we rely on needs to be maintained or it will break down. The difference is, we can’t trade in our body for a new one.
As always, your questions and comments are encouraged.
TruChoice Fitness & Nutrition
Fitness From The Inside Out