Getting Enough Sleep?
Do you wake up every morning feeling refreshed and energized? For a lot of us the answer is ‘no’. With our busy lifestyles, we’ve become used to feeling tired and sluggish and this is not good! It could be seriously harming our health!
Why Aren't We Sleeping?
Centuries ago, most people would get 8 to 9 hours of sleep each day. There was no such thing as 24 hour restaurants, fitness centres or pharmacies. There were no computers or smart phones to keep people’s interest when it got dark outside. Centuries ago when it got dark at night people went to sleep. When it gets dark the human body starts producing melatonin which is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Before the invention of electricity and the ability to light your home when it got dark, people would respond to the natural increase in melatonin by going to sleep. Now, only about 25% of North Americans get 8 or more hours of sleep.
We work long hours, seem to have unending responsibilities, and we also try to make time for friends, family and fitness and entertainment. With these busy, days we ended up getting to bed a little later until we got to the point where most of us are chronically sleep deprived.
Dangers Of Sleep Deprivation
A lot of people try to eat right and exercise to improve their health but if they’re not getting enough rest the results could be deadly. On average adults need about 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Here are some of the consequences of not getting enough sleep:
· Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Did you know that if you get less than 6 hours of quality sleep each night, you have a 48% greater risk of developing or dyingfrom heart disease and a 15% greater risk of developing or dying from a stroke. Lack of sleep can cause high blood pressure, blocked arteries, kidney disease and dementia.
· Obesity: Did you know that sleep shortage is directly linked to obesity? Lack of sleep disrupts two powerful hormones that control hunger causing you to feel hungrier.
Lack of sleep also causes you to feel more stressed, which increases the amount of the hormone cortisol in your body. This hormone causes you to crave high-carbohydrate foods such as junk food, and then deposits those carbs as fat around your belly which is the most dangerous place to store fat.
Getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night can cause impaired glucose tolerance which will put you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
· Compromised immune system: Did you know that sleep deprivation affects your immune system making you more susceptible to colds and flu? When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system becomes stressed and compromised.
· Impaired exercise performance: Did you know that not getting enough sleep can negatively impact your fitness efforts? When you’re sleep deprived you just won’t have the energy to push through a good workout. Also, your muscles repair and rebuild while you sleep. If your body isn’t getting this time to recover, you will be at a significant disadvantage during your next workout.
Gotta Make Time For Sleep!
Lifestyle changes are never easy, but this one will be so worth it! Start getting to bed a little bit earlier each night – even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes earlier until you’re consistently getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night. The payoff will be increased health, energy and productivity!