Waking up fully rested and feeling like you’re ready to take on the world is the best. But how often do we actually feel like that? Unfortunately not enough. It may seem clear that sleep is beneficial, but were just not giving it enough attention. This can take a toll on our mental health, physical health, quality of life and safety. A good night sleep is as important as having a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
Getting enough rest is part of an alkaline lifestyle. This is why we incorporate relaxation exercises in our detox retreat programs. But I have to be honest; I haven’t been practising what I preach….
My dangerous sleep deprivation
I’ve experienced hands on the dangers of sleep deprivation a few weeks ago. Juggling 3 jobs, working 14 hours+ a day, having an adopted dog who is scared and sometimes wakes me up by barking in the middle of the night, took a toll on me. One day I woke up very early after having slept just a few hours and not even deep enough. I was still feeling super tired, but I had to get up to get to work. So I got up too fast, which led to an enormous head rush and me blacking out. I ended up falling against my window. Unfortunately the quality of my bedroom window was not great and my fall broke the window. At this moment I came back to consciousness from the pain. The window had cut my shoulder open very deep. Blood was pouring out. I ended up in the emergency room of the hospital to get stitched up. Now I have the scars to tell the story and to remind myself of the importance of sleep.
Here are 6 reasons that will get you jumping into your PJ’s immediately.
1. Control of weight
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is linked to weight gain. In one study participants with short sleep saw a change in appetite regulatory hormones. The change in these hormones likely increases appetite and possibly explains the weight gain linked to short sleep duration.(1)
If you’re struggling to loose weight, try getting enough hours of sleep. It may help you more than you think.
2. Insufficient sleep may lead to serious health problems
Research has found that insufficient sleep leads to a slower processing of glucose which can lead to the development of diabetes 2.(2)
Studies have also found that only one night of insufficient sleep in people who have existing hypertension can cause higher blood pressure throughout the following day. This effect may explain the connection between poor sleep and cardiovascular disease and stroke.(3)
Sleepless nights can make us irritable and moody the next day. But lots of poor sleep can cause long-term mood disorders like depression, anxiety and mental distress. Even high suicide rates in older adults have been linked to sleep deprivation. (4,5)
4. Sufficient sleep leads to better brain function
Good sleep has been shown to increase our learning abilities, memory performance and problem solving skills (9), where poor sleep has shown the opposite. (11) One study has shown that sleep deprivation can negatively impact the brain function to a degree comparable to alcohol intoxication. (10)
5. Better immune response
Poor sleep also affects our immune responses. Even a modest disturbance of sleep reduces the natural immune responses. (6) In a study where participants were infected with the rhinovirus, which is to blame for colds, there was a lower immune resistance by those with sleep deprivation than those with a healthy amount of sleep. (7)
6. Poor sleep decreases our life expectancy
Some people make the joke that they’ll sleep when they’re dead. But what if they really knew that not sleeping enough really cuts our life expectancy? Data from three large cross-sectional epidemiological studies reveal that sleeping five hours or less per night increases mortality risk from all causes by approximately 15 percent! (8)
How much sleep do we need?
Adults over 18 years old need 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation adds up every day. If in one week we miss 2 ours of our necessary sleep hours daily, at the end of the week we are 14 hours deprived. We now have seen that it can cause real damage to our health.
So for good health we need to eat a healthy nutritious diet, exercise regularly and get sufficient sleep daily.