What do these major health issues have in common?
They all can come from a lack of sleep.
While talking about sleep may sound boring – enough to put you to sleep - getting enough of it is crucial to good health.
When someone tells me, “All I need is 4-5 hours and I’m good” I’m not impressed. In fact it annoys me, because they think I should be impressed with how late they stay up and still do a day’s work.
I don’t think they’re cool; I think they’re acting stupid, maybe because of a lack of sleep.
Here’s what happens when you don’t get enough sleep:
Lose Your Sex Drive – I thought this first one would get your attention fast.
Sleep specialists report that those who aren’t getting the recommended hours of restful sleep a night say they have a lower libido and men show a drop in testosterone. So before reaching for some testosterone building pills, maybe you could use more hours snoozing in bed.
Health Problems Start or Get Worse – Not enough sleep increases your chances for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.
Researchers found that those who reported less than the recommended hours of sleep had more of these health problems.
The body repairs itself and regenerates while sleeping. Plus, when we don’t get enough rest and we force our bodies to function anyway, we put undo stress upon it. This can lead to poor eating habits, lack of proper exercise, etc., which all can lead to poor health.
You Get Stupid – Lack of sleep really makes you dumb. I don’t say that to be mean, it’s true.
Sleep plays a critical role in thinking, learning and retaining what you learn. You can’t concentrate, problem solve or reason effectively without sleep. Also, since sleep allows time for our brains to categorize our thoughts and experiences, if you don’t get enough sleep you won’t be able to remember what you learned or experienced.
You Have Accidents – Sleepy drivers on the road are a leading cause of automobile accidents.
When you are sleep deprived your reactions to an emergency situation unfolding in split seconds on the highway are about as slow as a person who is drunk.
Lack of sleep is also responsible for many job related accidents. Many workers when being honest admitted they screwed up or got hurt because they just were so tired and weren’t thinking clearly.
You Get Fat – When you don’t sleep enough you tend to overeat and not exercise. We touched on this above, but research backs it up.
Studies show that when you lack getting the recommended amount of sleep you are 30% more likely to become obese.
Think about it, don’t you reach for the junk food when you’re tired and cranky?
You Look Older – Getting your “beauty sleep” isn’t just a saying, it’s true.
If you don’t get enough sleep your skin, especially on your face tells the world.
Lack of sleep is stressful to the body producing the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol breaks down collagen and collagen helps give skin its elasticity.
Your slumped over, dragging body that’s exhausted also makes you look older.
Depression Creeps In – When you constantly short change yourself on sleep you can get depressed. If you are already battling depression, a lack of sleep can make it much worse. Taking care of yourself is important to beating stress and making sure you are getting enough sleep will help your mood tremendously.
So don’t try and impress me with your attitude of I don’t need sleep, because I’m not buying it.
It also makes me very upset when I see children not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.
Children’s brains and bodies are growing so fast, their sleep is so very important to their development.
Instilling good sleeping habits is very important and crucial to children’s health.
So how much sleep is enough?
For the average adult it is 8-9 hours. That’s sleep hours, not laying in bed hours.
For older adults or those who have serious health issues it is closer to the 10 hour mark. Think about it…if your body is fighting a major health issue it needs more nutrients and more restorative sleep to fight that battle every day.
For children it depends upon their age:
1-4 Weeks Old: 15 - 16 hours per day
1-4 Months Old: 14 - 15 hours per day
4-12 Months Old: 14 - 15 hours per day
1-3 Years Old: 12 - 14 hours per day
Naps play an important role in getting these hours all in. Unfortunately around three years old children tend to not want to nap because they're afraid they might miss something!
That is why early bed times are very important. Instilling these habits now will make it much easier on them as they get older and attend school.
3-6 Years Old: 10 - 12 hours per day
7-12 Years Old: 10 - 11 hours per day – this is the age where I see many children not getting enough. Make sure they have an early enough bed time based on when they have to get up for school that gives them 10 hours of sleep. Stand firm even when they whine!
12-18 Years Old: 8 - 9 hours per day – though we all know teenagers will sleep much more than that if they can.
Let them sleep as they may need it.
Many teens go through major growth periods at this time and will require much more sleep than normal. Just don’t confuse laziness with needing more sleep. If they are sleeping all day because they are staying up late texting friends, then it’s time to set some limits.
Instilling good sleeping habits now will serve them well and help keep them healthy in the future.
Many people may be saying right now, “Well that sounds good, but I suffer with insomnia. That’s why I’m not getting enough sleep”.
Insomnia affects many people and there are just as many causes. They can range from stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, medications taken to chemical imbalances in the brain.
I urge you to seek out methods to help with insomnia starting with natural methods first.
While medications can help some with short term insomnia, they are not meant to be used long term and I have never met anyone who said it continued to work for them past a certain point.
What was causing the insomnia in the first place just continued and the medications eventually stopped working or worse, they couldn’t get any sleep without them, but the side effects made life unbearable – causing a terrible spiral downwards in their health.
It's important to get to the root of the problem - find out why you are not sleeping before choosing to medicate.
We have worked with individuals and have helped them find more natural ways to get more sleep. For most people it was just a matter of making some lifestyle changes that weren’t too hard.
If you are interested in learning natural ways on how to get a better night’s sleep review the articles below and contact us for a free personal consultation. We may be able to help you find what works for you.
Supplements that help promote restful sleep are:
Passion flower, chamomile & valerian – found in Gentle Sleep Complex
Calcium & Magnesium together – found in Chewable Cal Mag Plus
Certain herbs – found in Stress Relief Complex
However, if you take certain medications you cannot take some herbs. Please contact us to see if these products are safe to take with the medications you are currently taking.
Contact us to learn more about finding natural ways to promote restful sleep.
To Be Healthy
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.