Why You Need Sleep!

I am sure this is not the first time you are hearing just how important sleep is for you, but do you REALLY know why people say that? Why it's good for stress, weight loss, anxiety, happiness and so much more? Well lucky for you I am going to share all of these things with you and more :) 

Sleeping Statistics: 

  • 60% of adults are not getting enough sleep! 
  • Sleeping for just 6 hours a night increases the risk of being overweight by 27% and sleeping less than 5 hours increases this risk to 73%! 
  • Reducing your nighttime sleep my 1.5 hours impairs your alertness by 32%!
  • A 20 minute nap can enhance your alertness, concentration and motor skills. 
  • The likelihood of breast cancer is doubled for those who do to sleep too late.
  • On average, people sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. 

Sources: medicalbillingandcodingcertification.net; bewellbuzz.com; mrtraffic.com/sleep.htm

It is crazy that despite so many of us know just how important sleep is we still don't make it a priority. Too many Netflix shows to watch, too much fun to be had or work to be done...excuses excuses, but we all do it. 

Arianna Huffington talks a lot about sleep after she had a collapse in 2007 from exhaustion.

“The irony is that a lot of people forego sleep in the name of productivity,” she points out. “But in fact our productivity is reduced substantially when we’re sleep deprived.” "Burnout is not the price you have to pay for success." 

So what hinders our ability to get an amazing night sleep?

Well a lot of things, and of course they vary from person to person but these are some general ways a lot of people struggle. 

  • Addicted to technology. Whether it is watching shows before bed, scrolling Instagram or catching up on the news, the habit of keeping our phones next to our beds and dramatically affected how we sleep. The blue light coming off of your screens sends signals to your brain to wake you up, this is why we can get in bed exhausted but after a few shows we're ready for more and have no idea why! 
  • Caffeine Intake. A lot of people sip on coffee, soda or energy drinks throughout the day without realizing how much it could be affecting their sleep. Sip concisely at night so that falling asleep is easier! 
  • Alcohol Intake. As much as alcohol might make you sleepy it actually tends to be a sleep disruptor! It reduces your REM sleep, making it harder for you to fall into and stay in a deeper resting state. 
  • No Nighttime Ritual. Just like you have a nighttime routine with a baby, we should have one too. A way of letting our minds and our bodies know it is time to wind down and get ready for bed. However, most of us jump straight from different activities into bed and expect our minds to follow. This makes falling asleep so much harder because we are not as ready for it. 
  • Improper Sleeping Conditions. This is one that will vary from person to person but most people need to sleep with a dim to dark room, cooler temperatures and some sort of noise like a fan or white noise maker. Falling asleep on the couch with the TV on is the opposite of setting yourself up for a good night sleep. 

How can you sleep better then? 

  • Use night shift mode: Using this mode on your phone turns off the blue light emitted and therefore makes it easier to not feel more awake after looking at your phone. 
  • Don't use technology 1-2 hours before bed: So often we use this as a way to unwind but really there are so many better ways to do this! Read a book, meditate, talk to your roommates or spouse, have sex, take a bath and so on! All of these are great ways to unwind without losing your evening getting sucked into social media or TV. 
  • Don't sleep with your phone next to your bed: The likelihood that something urgent comes up in the middle of the night is slim. For 8 hours you can be "out of pocket" and not available for work or your drunk friends phone call. The buzzing and beeping throughout the night disturbs your cycle and therefore making it harder to maintain an optional nights sleep. 
  • Natural Sleeping Aids: I am not a big advocate for using substances to help you sleep but there are a lot of natural ones that aid in sleeping without becoming addictive. I recommend Melatonin or Gaba, both which can be bought at a supplement store. Other alternatives are defusing oils that aid in relaxation and calmness like lavender, cedarwood or mint or drinking a night time tea! Setting the tone of your space will help calm your mind and make it easier to sleep. 
  • Drown out the noise: If you live in a busy area or have a partner that snores it may be hard to drown that out and fall asleep. Use a white noise app (set away from the bed) or a noise making machine to help create a consistent noise that helps keep you from being awoken by a random horn honking or snore! 
  • Try product sleeping aids: There are lots of products that aid in helping people sleep. Ranging from specifically engineered eye masks to cooling sheets and gravity blankets. All of these things are designed and tested to help you get the best night sleep possible. If you are really struggling, these could be worth trying out! 
  • Meditation: Meditation is good for so many things and many people start their day off with it. However, ending your day with a quiet meditation (and even stretching) can help your body and mind unwind and relax so that as you fall asleep your mind isn't racing with thoughts. Try an app like Calm or Headspace if you want to try this out! 

Benefits of a full night sleep! 

  • You will live longer! Getting little sleep adds up over time and leads to a greater risk of heart disease, anxiety, depression, and sickness. By getting enough sleep your body is able to better protect itself and perform at a more optimum level. 
  • You will be happier! A poor nights sleep can affect your happiness as much as missing a tight deadline. 
  • You will have better sex! Not getting enough sleep lowers your libido but more sleep increases your testosterone levels.
  • You will build muscle easier! Throughout the night your body is regenerating and healing the damage done to your cells and tissues. If you do not get enough sleep for your body to properly heal and repair itself your risk muscle atrophy. 
  • You will have a better memory! Your mind is playing over different things you have studied or learn and committing them to memory. 
  • You will lose weight easier! Not only does it help build muscle but while you sleep your body is breaking down and processing the food you have eaten the day before. Once it burns through the food, it starts burning fat. But without adequate sleep it is less likely to reach that stage. AND running on little sleep stimulates your appetite for energy, therefore typically leading to weight gain. 
  • You will be more positive! By getting enough rest, we are able to think more clearly and react to situations with more calmness. Thus, keeping us from overreacting and assuming the worst if unforeseen circumstances pop up. 

Convinced yet?!? If you haven't already been making sleep a priority in your life I challenge you to start changing today. What lifestyle do you really want for yourself? Do you want all those things above, happiness, success, weight loss...all of those things are linked to sleep. So choose today to make that a priorety because you are a priorety. STart creating boundaries and a routine and see just what it does for the following day and week! 

Let me know what you found most interesting or what sleep trick you are going to try!