It’s Dr. Kelly Wood, your Balanced Living Health and Wellness expert. My mission is to help women overcome their limitations to achieve total wellness and balanced living: mind,body and spirit. I do this through my blog, speaking and individualized group and VIP Balanced Living programs.
I’m a night owl. The way my internal clock is set up I’d stay awake until 2 or 3 in the morning and wake up around 10 or 11 am. But this isn’t a good idea when you have to get up for work the next day.
Sometimes, I only get about 6 hours of sleep daily, but according to this CDC report this isn’t enough. The recommended amount for adults is 7 or more hours per night.
After a few days my late nights catch up with me, so I’ve been trying to go to bed earlier. I’ve made it a priority and added it to my list of goals because it’s so important.
Why is adequate sleep so important? Here are 5 reasons!
Where do I sign up?
Researchers have found that people who sleep fewer than 7 hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese. Dieters who were well rested lost more fat than those who were sleep deprived who tended to lose more muscle.
Lack of sleep has been linked to elevated levels of the hormone cortisol which can affect how your body processes carbohydrates and predisposes you to belly fat. Ughh!!
Sleep deprivation also disrupts the hormones ghrelin and leptin which regulate appetite. Dieters in one study who slept less, felt hungrier.
So if you want to lose weight, you might want to go to bed earlier.
Boost your mood
Sleep is essential for our emotional wellbeing. Most if not all of us have experienced feeling irritable, impatient and stressed after a sleepless night. You’re easily overwhelmed when you’re super tired.
A lack of sleep can worsen depression and anxiety. One way to promote balance in your emotions is to get adequate sleep.
Improve memory and ability to learn
Have you noticed how difficult it is to focus or concentrate when you’re tired? When we are sleep deprived, nerve cells in our brain don’t fire optimally and it’s difficult to receive and process information.
Sleep also plays a role in memory consolidation. This is the process by which a memory becomes stable. Memory consolidation takes place during sleep through the strengthening of neural connections. In studies, people who slept after learning a task did better on tests.
Reduce risk of cancer
Research has shown a link between lack of sleep and the risk of cancer. One study showed a relationship between women’s irregular work schedule and the risk of breast cancer. It is therefore postulated this is because the body’s biological clock (circadian rhythm) is disrupted during shift work. Exposure to light while working overnight shifts for several years may also reduce levels of melatonin and encourage cancer to grow.
There is an increase in the risk of not only breast cancer, but also of colon, ovarian and prostate cancer.
You’ll live longer
Sleep might be the long sought after fountain of youth. It has been shown that too little or too much sleep is associated with decreased longevity. As we get older our need for sleep decreases and the sweet spot appears to be around 7 hours.
Sleep is an indicator of overall health and wellbeing as well as quality of life.
Your mind and body recharge, repair and recover during sleep so it should be a priority. Read more about what happens when we sleep here.
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