Jam-packed schedules and overcommitted calendars are rampant in today’s world. Between work, school, family, friends, hobbies and social obligations, you may feel like you can’t always afford to get a good night’s sleep – but in reality, you can’t afford not to get adequate shut eye.
Sleep is often seen as a luxury you only get enough of on weekends and during vacation, which is unfortunately a dangerous line of thought. Studies are consistently proving that sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise, and can play a substantial role in your risk for several serious conditions. In fact, lack of sleep is even associated with a shorter lifespan.
After just one sleepless night, you already begin experiencing impaired brain function. When you consistently cut sleep short by as little as two to three hours a night, you are more likely to become obese, develop type 2 diabetes and suffer from cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Lack of sleep also weakens your immune function, making you more susceptible to common colds and other illnesses. All these conditions and side effects result in reduced productivity, increased absenteeism from work, and micro sleeps. These mini-sleep episodes last somewhere between four to 30 seconds, and are extremely hazardous if they occur while driving or operating machinery.
Sleep is your body’s way of processing information you’ve collected, and healing itself from each day’s wear and tear. By giving yourself a solid seven to eight hours of sleep each night, your body can adequately store information, stabilize your emotions, repair your heart, blood vessels and muscles, and regulate your hormone and insulin levels. You’ll also strengthen your immune system, giving your body the fighting power it needs to keep sickness at bay.
It may be hard to make time for restful sleep, but the benefits are worth the effort. Start carving out seven to eight hours each day for sleep, and begin programming your body to quickly fall sleep each night by creating a sleep routine. We recommend going to bed around the same time every night and avoiding TV, smart phone, tablet and computer screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. You may also want to incorporate any other activities you find soothing, such as sipping Chamomile tea or reading.
If you dedicate adequate time and effort for sleep and still find yourself tossing and turning at night, you may have a sleeping disorder that needs to be addressed.