What is defined as “enough sleep”?
As humans, we spend up to one third of our life sleeping. It’s an undisputed fact that a good night sleep is just as important to your health as eating well and exercising.
Unfortunately, work and life have interfered with our sleeping pattern, we sleep less than we did in the past and our sleep quality has also decreased.
But what does it mean to get a “good nights sleep”? According to the CDC “sleep hygeine” is a term sometimes used to refer to getting a good nights sleep and it can be achieved by doing the following:
- Consistency is key. Set a regular bedtime and wake up at the same time each morning.
- Keep your bedroom nice and dark, at a comfortable temperature, and free of distractions or loud noises.
- This one may be difficult – but keep your room free of electronics. Cell phones, TVS, at other electronic devices may keep you up at night.
- Don’t eat or drink liquids before bed. Alcohol won’t make your sleep quality any better either.
- Make sure to exercise regularly. This will help your body be prepared for rest.
How much sleep do we need?
The amount of sleep you need will depend on your age. Babies need more sleep than toddlers, and adults need less sleep than children. The chart below from the CDC will give you a better overview of how much sleep YOU need.
So what happens when you do not sleep enough?
You add weight when you sleep less
Research and studies have confirmed the linkage between poor sleep and weight gain. People that have a shorter nights sleep tend to weigh significantly more than those that get a few extra hours in.
Less sleep slows down your metabolism, making it more difficult to loose weight making sleep deprivation a factor that contributes to obesity. If you want to lose weight, ensure you get quality sleep.
The bottom line: having short sleep duration is linked with weight gain and obesity.
Good sleep helps improve concentration and productivity
Good sleep is the key factor for proper functioning of the brain. It helps improve concentration, performance, and cognition.
The bottom line; Good sleep makes allows effective and efficient functioning of the memory.
Poor sleep poses a greater risk of stroke and heart related diseases
The quality of sleep and how long you sleep have major effects on your overall health. Research studies have linked heart disease and strokes to sleep deprivation.
While a lack of sleep may not be the root cause of your health issues, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night can lower your risk of stroke or heart disease.
The bottom line; Sleep 8 hours per night to avoid being at risk of having stroke and heart related disease.
Good sleep results in maximum athletic performance
If you want to be the star on the football team, or just have a great workout in the gym then a good sleep is very important. Studies on athletes and football players have shown that longer sleep helps improve speed, mental well being, accuracy and reaction time.
The bottom line; Getting a good sleep drastically improves physical and athletic performance.
Not getting good sleep is linked to depression
Poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders are linked to metal issues like depression. An estimate has shown that over 90% of people battling depression complain about not getting a good night sleep.
Those who experience insomnia on a regular basis suffer higher rates of depression.
The bottom line; Not getting a good night sleep is linked to depression.
Good night sleep improves the functionality of the immune system
This is one of the most important reasons for getting a good night’s sleep. Research has shown that even a small loss of sleep can impair the immune system.
A study conducted by a UC San Francisco sleep researcher found that those who sleep less than 6 hours each night were four times more likely to catch a cold than those who spend more than 7 hours a night catching some zzz’s
The bottom line; Getting good sleep for at least eight hours helps strengthen your immune system and helps fight cold.
Sleep has an effect on your social interaction and emotions
Not getting good sleep affects your ability to interact socially. It reduces your ability to spot the difference between happiness and anger as well as the ability to process emotional information and spot significant social cues.
The bottom line; Good night sleep helps your social skills and ability to recognize emotional expression of people around you while sleep deprivation does the otherwise.
In conclusion, sleep is a major pillar of health and the importance of getting good night sleep is invaluable. Do you get enough sleep every night? Comment below!