Did someone say “Sleep when the baby sleeps”? Then they can fold laundry when the baby folds laundry! Of course…And sweat over the presentation when the boss does it, stay up for the exam when the teacher does it etc. The challenge of getting enough sleep applies to teenagers, adults and seniors alike, though the reasons for not getting it would be different!
Do you get enough sleep? How much really is enough?
If we slept an average of 7 hours per day and live till 70, we would have spent an entire 20 years sleeping. Sounds like a colossal waste of time considering how short life is to do all that we want!? Not really! Read on to know why.
What are the benefits of sleep?
It is during sleep that the body repairs and rebuilds itself. Sleep affects our immunity as well, releasing certain proteins which help fight inflammation, stress, and infections.
What happens if you don’t sleep enough?
The longest recorded time without sleep is about 11 consecutive days. Although it’s unclear exactly how long humans can survive without sleep it wouldn’t be long before the effects of sleep deprivation start to show. And they go beyond the obvious symptoms like fatigue, irritability, bad mood or lack of focus. Prolonged sleep deprivation is associated with long-term health consequences including chronic medical conditions.
Obesity – Insufficient sleep messes up the levels of hormones that signal the brain about hunger and feeling full leading to food cravings even when the body doesn’t need it.
Diabetes – A study found that a group of healthy subjects who had their sleep cut back from 8 to 4 hours per night processed glucose more slowly than if they were allowed to sleep 12 hours.
Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, Stroke – A single night of inadequate sleep in hypertensive people can cause elevated blood pressure throughout the following day. This explains the correlation between poor sleep and cardiovascular disease and stroke. You can read more here.
Wake up to the truth about sleep myths
- A glass of warm milk – IS NOT going to make you sleepy
- Saturday sleep-in – you can’t catch up on lost sleep or bank for future
- Older people need less sleep – not really
- Counting sheep – is ‘Counter’ productive!
- Drink to dream – alcohol is metabolized throughout the night & disturbs sleep, so it’s best not to drink it before bed. Go for happy hours!
Try these sleep hacks instead
- Don’t take your phone to bed- blue light from devices and lights such as LED lamps, street lights messes with melatonin – the snooze hormone. Try putting up blackout curtains in your bedroom.
- Understand your sleep chronotype and set a rhythm. Dr. Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist, and sleep expert identified four sleep chronotypes (aka your circadian rhythm personality).
- Raise the top of your bed frame by a few inches. Sleeping at an incline helps brain flush out the debris that has built up during the day, in a process known as glymphatic drainage.
- Sleep position affects the quality of sleep. Choose what works best for you.
Be like a caterpillar.. eat greens, sleep for a while and wake up beautiful!
Credits: MayoClinic, WebMD, Harvard Medical School, blog.bulletproof.com