What are some of the benefits of a good night’s sleep?
Sleep makes You Smarter
Can you remember those college nights when you would stay up cramming for a final exam? Did you know that losing sleep probably hurt you more than if you wouldn't have studied as much. Research shows that individuals who get a full 7-8 hour of sleep after learning a skill retain more information as opposed to those that stay up all night mastering that same skill. When you sleep, your brain gets a chance to digest and process information from the previous day. Missing this processing time can prove to be costly.
Sleep Improves Concentration
Those that don't get enough sleep tend to be more irritable and make more mistakes. Reaction time is also significantly decreased by a lack of sleep. As a matter of fact, a lack of sleep is sometimes compared to alcohol consumption while driving.
Sleep Boosts the Immune System
If you get the right amount of sleep per night (7-8 hours), your body will be able to fight off infections and diseases much easier. Have you ever noticed the times when you are lacking sleep. This is usually when you catch a cold or the flu. It is no coincidence.
Sleep Improves Appearance
Have you ever heard the term "beauty sleep"? As a matter of fact, skin, muscle, blood, and brain regeneration happens during the sleep cycles. If you deprive your body of this necessary regeneration, your skin will begin to age and under your eyes will appear dark circles.
Link to article here.
How much sleep do I need?
Research shows that a healthy amount of sleep varies from person to person. According to Health.com, “There's no normal number of hours that quantifies a good sleep, just like there's no normal shoe size. Most adults need seven to nine hours a night; others manage just fine with six. It's even possible to get too much sleep, since spending excess time in bed can be a sign of another health problem, such as depression or chronic fatigue syndrome.
A 2007 British study found that people who slept the same amount of time (seven hours) each night lived longer, on average, than people who adjusted their schedules to either add or subtract hours from their nightly slumber. Finding your own ideal sleep/wake cycle—and staying consistent—is key to healthy sleep, agrees Carol Ash, DO, medical director of the Sleep for Life center in Hillsborough, N.J.”
What happens if I don’t get enough sleep?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, “One thing sleep research certainly has shown is that sleeping too little can not only inhibit your productivity and ability to remember and consolidate information, but lack of sleep can also lead to serious health consequences and jeopardize your safety and the safety of individuals around you.
For example, short sleep duration is linked with:
* Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents
* Increase in body mass index – a greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
* Increased risk of diabetes and heart problems
* Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
* Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information”
How does sleep affect weight loss?
The following information was found at womenshealth.com:
According to recent studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Lancet, sleep loss tends to increase hunger and affects the body’s metabolism making it difficult to maintain weight loss or lose weight.
A hormone called cortisol which controls appetite has been shown to be affected by sleep loss. This causes you to still feel hungry despite the fact that you have consumed an adequate amount of food. Other ways that sleep loss affects your ability to lose and maintain weight loss include:
• Interference with carbohydrate metabolism which may cause high blood glucose levels.
• Excess amounts of glucose encourages the overproduction of insulin which leads to the storage of excess body fat, as well as lead to insulin resistance (a significant sign of adult-onset diabetes.)
According to Michael Thorpy, MD, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, "Sleep loss is associated with striking alterations in hormone levels that regulate the appetite and may be a contributing factor to obesity. Any American making a resolution to lose weight in the New Year should probably consider a parallel commitment for getting more sleep."
What Can I do to Make Sure I’m getting enough sleep?
Once again from the National Sleep Foundation:
“To begin a new path towards healthier sleep and a healthier lifestyle, begin by assessing your own individual needs and habits. See how you respond to different amounts of sleep. Pay careful attention to your mood, energy and health after a poor night's sleep versus a good one. Ask yourself, "How often do I get a good night's sleep?" If the answer is "not often", then you may need to consider changing your sleep habits or consulting a physician or sleep specialist. When Ellen's family members began this process, they realized that often they weren't getting what they would call a "good night's sleep." This led each of them to reevaluate how much sleep they needed and whether their sleep habits were healthy ones.
To pave the way for better sleep, experts recommend that you and your family members follow these sleep tips:
* Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends
* Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music – begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep
* Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
* Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
* Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex (keep "sleep stealers" out of the bedroom – avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed)
* Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
* Exercise regularly during the day or at least a few hours before bedtime
* Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking
If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms such as sleepiness during the day or when you expect to be awake and alert, snoring, leg cramps or tingling, gasping or difficulty breathing during sleep, prolonged insomnia or another symptom that is preventing you from sleeping well, you should consult your primary care physician or sleep specialist to determine the underlying cause. You may also try keeping a sleep diary to track your sleep habits over a one- or two-week period and bring the results to your physician.
Most importantly, make sleep a priority. You must schedule sleep like any other daily activity, so put it on your "to-do list" and cross it off every night. But don’t make it the thing you do only after everything else is done – stop doing other things so you get the sleep you need.”
Thanks Michelle and Ryan. Get your points....the rest of you read and comment to get yours!