Our beloved pets often get more sleep than we do. It has been said that cats sleep as much as 19 hours a day. While 19 hours is extreme, studies show we are getting less and less sleep on average. It’s no surprise that Women’s Health Week kicked off on Mother’s Day, May 10th. Mom’s are among the most sleep deprived people on the planet. Supermom, Superwoman… we’ve heard those terms for years, but getting up early and staying up late to get that “one more thing” done isn’t doing any favors to your body or your long term health goals.
While we may think we are resting during our sleep, the eye-opening truth is that sleep is the time our bodies go into overhaul on repairing and finessing nearly every part of our body, both physically and mentally. As Women’s Health Week gets underway, it is important to note that these tips go for men, as well.
Top Reasons to get Your Zzzzs:
*The National Institutes of Health recommends adults get 7 to 8 hours of continuous, restful sleep daily.
*Sleep makes you smarter. Sleep greatly impacts the brain’s memory functions like short-term memory and the ability to tackle high-level mental tasks that require great attention. When the body is sleep deprived, it actually creates a sleep deficit that continues until the body gets enough rest. In other words, two or three nights of inadequate sleep can create a deficit that takes days of adequate to increased sleep to balance out.
*Sleep makes you happier. Studies conducted by psychologists from the University of Clemson and Bradley University in Peoria show that sleep deprivation hinders mood more than mental or physical performance. Sleep-deprived people are more grumpy, less motivated, less quick-thinking, more easily frustrated, less happy, and more short-tempered. That is reason enough to drop the to-do list at night and go. to. bed.
*Sleep eases your stress. Getting enough sleep is good for your endocrine system which regulates hormones. One important hormone is cortisol. A sleep deprived body may have elevated levels of cortisol which keeps the body in a state of alertness and can drive up blood pressure. Increased blood pressure can lead to risk of heart attack and stroke.
*Sleep helps keep you slim. In more ways than one, getting enough sleep has a direct impact on hunger, cravings, and the rate at which the body breaks down food… in essence, sleep affects the metabolism. Studies show that sleep disturbances and lack of sleep interfere with the body’s use of glucose leading to insulin resistance. And, when sleep deprived, studies show an increase in the release of hormones that trigger hunger, a decrease in communication between the brain and the feeling of being full, and sleep deprived individuals reported increased cravings for sweets, salty foods and starches. The bottom line for your bikini figure, get much needed sleep.
*Sleep boosts your immunity. Studies show lack of sleep can lead to increased risk of certain cancers and Type II diabetes. When sleeping, the immune system goes to work on preventive measures and helps stave off chronic illness. Feeling ill? Go to bed.
*Sleep repairs tired muscles. In studies conducted by Arizona State University, intensive training requires adequate sleep for muscle recovery and repair. Lack of sleep has been associated with faster heart rates and can impact athletic performance and increase strain on cardiovascular activity.
*Sleep is a natural anti-aging tool. Sleep releases growth hormones that repair tissue and stimulate cell division. Without adequate sleep, the body can’t balance inflammation, stress-moderating functions, and the wear and tear that everyday life does to our bodies. Sleep is connected to the fountain of youth.
And, cheers for the afternoon nap, according to NASA, pilots who take naps have a 54% greater measure of alertness and a 34% increase in job performance.