Have you ever wondered why you get sick after a few sleepless nights? When sleep is missing there is a lack of melatonin hormone release, decreasing immune cytokine function, making you vulnerable to infection and disease.
How important is sleep? Well, sleep gives you energy for the following day, improved athletic performance, reduces stress while boosting your mood, repairs broken down muscle due to exercise and builds an immune system more resistant to illness. If these factors aren’t reason enough to squeeze in an extra hour or two of sheet time, take a look at the negatives.
Sleep deprivation has a direct correlation to chronic inflammation (aka the stem to most modern disease), insulin resistance, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and the risk of obesity1! Those who sleep less than six hours a day are 30% more likely to risk obesity2 and studies show that nearly one-third of US adults get less than six hours of sleep within 24 hours3.
Another correlation between your appetite and a lack of sleep: the “ghrelin” hormone (hunger hormone) and “leptin” (the hormone that tells your brain you are not hungry) are affected. Research shows that a lack of sleep increases ghrelin, while decreasing leptin2. Simply put, you will tend to eat more with a lack of sleep.
Logically, the rule of thumb is eight hours of sleep each night. That is eight hours without food – the appetite is just too strong to go without food for that long while awake!
Finally, a couple tips that will produce a better night’s sleep:
- Avoid artificial light at night avoid blue lighting and shift to amber.
- Get natural light! First thing in the morning, then several times during the day.
- Try getting to bed earlier because your body tends to heal itself better during deep non-REM sleep (the earlier stages of sleep). Longer sleep – better recovery.
- Be aware of caffeine intake. It takes up to 8 hours to metabolize caffeine and decaf is merely less caffeine. It isn’t necessary to eliminate completely, simply be aware of and limit amount.
- Adapt stress management techniques to use every day to prevent anxiety, producing a more calming existence at night.
To recap: solid daily nutrition, effective stress management techniques and proper sleep patterns complement each other, making a real change in the way you feel and helping to bring excellent health for years to come.
- The Western Diet and Lifestyle and Diseases of Civilization. Available at: http://www.dovepress.com/the-western-diet-and-lifestyle-and-diseases-of-civilization-peer-reviewed-article-RRCC. Accessed on: January 16, 2014
- Coping with excessive sleepiness. 10 Things to Hate About Sleep Loss. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss?page=2. Accessed on: January 15, 2014.
- Sleep Duration in the United States: A Cross-sectional Population-based Study. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2727237/. Accessed on: January 16, 2014.