Be honest, sis. Are you getting your 8 hours of zzz’s a night?
In this day and age, it seems like sleeping has taken a back seat in our lives as we continue to glorify busy and bustling lifestyles that carry on into the late hours of the night. It may seem like cutting your sleep schedule leads to you getting more items done off your to-do list, but in reality, you are negatively affecting your health.
Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellbeing.
So whether you’re a busy bee or you have insomnia, we want to give you a couple of reasons why you should make sleep a priority.
More Sleep = Better Productivity
Cutting down your hours of sleep may help you complete your projects or finish that book, but it is also leading to a decrease in your productivity and performance. Studies have shown that sleep is important for various aspects of brain function, including productivity, cognition, and concentration. In many instances, a lack of sleep links to decreased academic or work performance.
Enhance Exercise Performance
More sleep can help to significantly improve speed, accuracy, reaction times, and mental well-being when it comes to exercise.
Helps Your Metabolism
Those suffering from lack of sleep tend to weigh more than those who are getting adequate sleep, according to research. The science behind this is because, during your sleep cycles, your body uses that time to convert calories to energy. This process is known as your metabolism. When your body cannot go through this energy conversion process during your sleep cycle, all the unused energy gets stored as fat.
Improves Your Mental Health
Many of those who report a lack of sleep, whether due to insomnia or another sleep-affecting disorder, may also be dealing with depression. Due to a lack of sleep, your body cannot function at its highest potential, leading to low performance in daily activities, reduced concentration, imbalanced appetites, and mental and physical exhaustion.
If you are dealing with sleep disorders or are just having trouble falling asleep, there are plenty of resources and tips to assist you. For example, participating in a sleep study based on your doctor's recommendations can help you get to the bottom of your sleeping issues and get a head start on how to address them. For those struggling with anxiety or depression, we encourage you to reach out to a therapist or even try meditation as a way to calm down your mind. Resources such as Talkspace, Calm, and Headspace are great resources to assist with your mental health and get your sleep schedule back on track.
Prevents Health Issues
Long-term health issues such as type 2 diabetes and Crohn's disease are linked to lack of sleep because of energy conversion. With type 2 diabetes, if your body is not given the time to convert during your sleep, it can adversely affect your blood sugar levels, leading to pre diabetes and type 2 diabetes. With Crohn's disease, this is created by long-term inflammation of the digestive tract. Inadequate sleep is linked to inflammation as well. A study has shown that those with Crohn’s disease who are sleep-deprived were twice as likely to relapse to those who get enough sleep.So, how can you get a better night’s sleep?
- Don't oversleep. As tempting as it can be to hit the snooze button on your alarm, it can be just as negatively impacting if you oversleep. Try to create a routine where you go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning - yes, even on weekends!
- Have a warm bath or shower if you feel restless at night. The warm water can help relax your muscles and help wash away any stresses or worries of the day.
- Avoid stimulants in the afternoon and night. Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6–8 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee or energy drinks after 3pm is not recommended.
- Don't take naps after 3 p.m, and don't nap longer than 20 minutes.
- Get regular exercise, but not within 2-3 hours of bedtime.
- Don’t lie in bed awake. If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, do something calming until you feel sleepy, like reading or listening to soft music.
- Set up a good environment for sleep with a comfortable temperature minus the television, mobile phone or any disturbing noises.
- Reduce blue light exposure in the evenings. Try to avoid TV, phone, laptop, any electronic device for at least 2 hours before bed.
In the end, sleep can is seen as the action that keeps your body running at its fullest potential, and it should not be taken lightly. So try and get plenty of it, girl!
We’d love to know in the comments below - how many hours of sleep do you get a night?