Reasons Why You Need More Sleep
What percentage of the time do you wake up feeling totally well-rested? Probably not very often. For us New Yorker’s living a frenzied city life, we know too well the the city never sleeps! Studies show that 40% of us get less than 6 hours a night. Not only does this make it difficult to focus at work the next day, but it can make you irritable and want to eat everything in sight! But there is a lot more going on in your body when you are sleep deprived than simply feeling tired. Read on to learn 12 reasons why you need more sleep.
Being sleep deprived can affect almost every part of your body ranging from your brain, muscles, immune system and even skin. And if that’s not enough, inadequate sleep can increase risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity as well as cause inflammation and a worsening of some GI conditions. Many of us spend a great deal of energy trying to stay healthy by watching our diet and trying to exercise regularly. But we tend neglect one of the most important aspects of health – sleep.
The topic of sleep hits home with me because I have a long history of “sleep issues”. I’ve had a sleep study done and meet regularly with a sleep specialist at NYPH. I can’t say I always follow my “sleep homework” … considering I’m writing this blog post at 11:30 pm! But on a more serious note, sleep has been a hot topic for the past few years as we learn more about the health implications of inadequate sleep.
Reasons why you need more sleep
- Change of mood … and not for the good! Getting enough sleep helps regulate mood and emotion regulation.You can be more
reactive to stress than usual. Yup – I can attest to this one!
- Change in mental health. Sleep affects our “emotional intelligence” – that is our ability to perceive and respond to others emotional state as well as our own. So make sure your significant other gets adequate sleep! Inadequate sleep can also increase anxiety.
- Your mind doesn’t function optimally. Sleep is critical for the formation and consolidation of memories as well as your ability to retrieve them when awake. It becomes more difficult to focus on a task or learn something new. Your creativity is compromised as well as your ability to make decisions – which affects overall work performance.
- Decreased reaction time. Sleeping only 5 hours a night can have a similar effect on judgement and motor reaction time as if you
are legally drunk. This can be hazardous when driving or operating machinery. Lets hope your Via driver got a good nights sleep…(pic credit)
- Increased risk of heart disease. Sleeping fewer than six hours a night can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure or worsen high blood pressure if you already have it. It can increase inflammatory markers including white blood cells, IL-6 and CRP. Over time, skimping on sleep can increase your odds of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Decreased immunity. Do you feel like you get sick every time you get run down? This isn’t surprising! When you’re tired and even moderately sleep-deprived, your immune function is compromised. This can leave you vulnerable to catching colds, the flu, and other infectious illnesses—and make it harder to recover from infections and heal from wounds.
- Less relief from chronic pain. During REM sleep, muscles are relaxed, which can help relieve tension and reduce symptoms of certain types of chronic pain. Just like you couldn’t mentally focus for 24-hours straight at your day job, your body needs a break to chill out so it can conquer the next day with gusto.
- Decreased muscle repair and growth. Sleep provides an opportunity for rejuvenation. Many of the critical restorative functions in the body—like tissue repair and muscle growth—occur mostly or only during sleep. Inadequate sleep will also
impede your progress if you are weight training to build muscle mass.
- Increased risk of diabetes. Sleep restriction has been shown to increase insulin resistance, which can be a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Endogenous glucose production is increased and impairment of glucose tolerance occurs. increased with sleep deprivation lowest diabetes risk when sleeping 7-8 hours/night, higher when less than 7 or more than 9 hours.
- Weight gain. Leptin (satiety hormone) is decreased in sleep deprivation – while ghrelin (hunger hormone) is increased. Sleep deprived people eat more calories. Studies have shown that women eat 329 more calories and men eat 263 more calories. To make matters worse, inadequate sleep will decrease motivation to exercise.
- Inflammation. Sleep deprivation increases inflammatory cytokines TNF, IL-1 and IL-6. These cytokines disturb sleep. GI diseases such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, colorectal cancer, gastro-esophageal reflux and liver disease have changed cytokine profiles. Sleep disruption can increase the severity of these GI disturbances.
- Wrinkled saggy skin. Nope – this is not a joke! Consistently skimping on sleep can lead to premature wrinkling and sagging of your skin, partly because cortisol (a stress hormone that’s released when you’re sleep-deprived) can break down collagen, which keeps your skin smooth.
How much sleep do you need a night?
Adults need 7-9 hours. This varies from person to person. Adult average sleep is 6.8 hours in 2013 and 7.9 hours in 1942. 40% of adults get 6 hours or less sleep a night! 28% get 7 hours or less a night.
integrativerd.org – dietetic practice group of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Sleep – Putting in Place the Missing Foundation for Your Patients presented by Dr. Catherine Darley
Stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on Tips to Get More Sleep
I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.