How Important is Sleep?
VERY! Sleep is one of the pillars of good health along with nutrition and physical exercise. Most adults require at least 7 hours a day. Unfortunately, sleep is also one of the major casualties of our modern lifestyles.
Studies show that lack of sleep affects every major system in our body. Here is how your body suffers from sleep deprivation:
A lack of sleep not only reduces mental clarity but our ability to cope with stressful situations. This is due, in part, to the impact of chronically high levels of cortisol. Regenerative or deep sleep increases various aspects of brain function, such as: cognition, concentration, productivity, and performance.
Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are at far greater risk of heart disease or stroke than those who sleep 7–8 hours per night.
While you are sleeping, your body repairs and rebuilds by clearing the lymphatic system, repairing muscle, growing tissue, and synthesizing proteins.
Lack of sleep affects blood sugar and reduces insulin sensitivity. In a study in healthy young men, restricting sleep to 4 hours per night for 6 nights in a row induced symptom of prediabetes.
Immune system functionality
Studies have shown that those who sleep less than 7 hours per night are almost 3 times more likely to develop a cold than those who sleep 8 hours or more.
Poor sleep has been linked to long-term inflammation of the digestive tract resulting in inflammatory bowel disease, changes to gut microbiome, obesity, and increased food sensitivities.
Fortunately, maintaining proper sleep hygiene is not difficult. Consider the following simple ideas.
- Maintain a regular sleep routine
- Avoid daytime naps
- Limit “blue light” from TV, computers, etc. at least 2 hours prior to going to bed
- Limit caffeine intake
- Use an air purifier or crack a window to ensure you have clean, fresh air
- Make sure you have a quiet and comfortable bedroom
Sleep disorders can affect people in any age group. If you are practicing good sleep hygiene and are still having trouble sleeping, it’s important to consult your doctor or a sleep specialist. The field of sleep science is continuing to grow, and diagnostic tools such as sleep studies, can help pinpoint the problem.
Good sleep is a powerful stress-reliever. It improves concentration, regulates mood, and sharpens judgment and decision-making…. now, isn’t that important?