Sleep plays a critical role in well-being and recovery of the body every day. Getting quality sleep every night will help protect your mental health, physical health and quality of life.
It's well documented that we all need at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately a large majority of adults will not get close to that due to our busy lifestyles. Due to electricity, we have the ability to extend the time we have light and can keep stimulated 24/7 with access to the internet, television and social media. Due to this our human body clocks do not run on sunrise and sunset like they use too (midnight use to mean the middle of the night, now for some of us it's when we just get into bed).
Whether it's due to work or family responsibilities, insomnia, or because you're on the internet until late at night, the negative effects of sleep catch up to everyone. We all can relate to the effects of just one late night such as lack of cognitive ability, alertness and energy. Unfortunately, it's the repetitive lack of sleep we consistently find ourselves suffering from that causes major health problems & increase stress levels.
- Sleep also regulates the balance of the two hormones called leptin and ghrelin. These hormones are responsible for appetite. Ghrelin increases feelings of hunger and leptin increases the feeling of being full (satiety). Lack of sleep causes an increase of the hormone ghrelin.
- Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Chronic sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
- Sleep deficiency will increase risk of obesity: One study showed that each hour of sleep lost can increase chances of becoming obese by indirectly affecting cravings. Due to lack of energy and increased fatigue, people crave high GI and sugary foods to get an energy kick (one's will-power to avoid these foods can also be decreased with low energy).
- Sleep will also affect the bodies' response to insulin: meaning your body will struggle to control blood sugar. This causes uneven spikes of energy followed by heavy crashes throughout the day (increasing the chances of reaching for sugar). It will also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Deep sleep is the key to cell and tissue repair in the body. This will increase recovery and promote growth of muscles and normal development in children. Lack of sleep minimises time a person will be in a state of deep sleep.
- Your immune system relies heavily on quality of sleep to maintain health and defend against disease: sleep deprivation will leave you more susceptible to disease.
There are many other acute and chronic side-effects of not sleeping enough. Recovering from months or years of sleep deprivation won't happen overnight. It takes weeks of consistently getting a minimum of 8 quality hours of sleep to counteract these effects. Fortunately there are systems we can put in place to form a healthy routine and increase the hours of quality sleep we get each night.
3 simple tips for better sleep:
- Shut off all electrical devices and bright light an hour or two before you wish to get to sleep (especially our mobiles; the bright screen can trick our brain into thinking it is day time, disturbing hormones and preparation of our bodies to sleep)
- Stay away from sugary foods or stimulants such as coffee towards the end of the day as it will give us a kick of energy we simply don't need when getting ready to sleep. (caffeine has a half-life of 6 hours, therefore a 2pm coffee can still be affecting you later that night)
- Develop a regular sleeping pattern: build a bed time routine that you do in the same time-frame every night. Going to sleep consistently at a certain time each night will re-generate your internal body clock and will be the key to you successfully getting quality deep sleep consistently.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.