You’ve probably heard the phrase, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead;” however, not getting enough zzz’s can put you on a faster track to a date with destiny. With today’s hectic work schedules, fast paced lifestyles, and ever changing sleep patterns, many tend to underestimate its importance and forget that it is not a luxury, but a necessity. If completely deprived of shuteye, you will eventually die.
Sleep is divided into four stages; the most important sleep occurs during deep sleep (stage 3) and rapid eye movement (REM, stage 4). Deep sleep helps growth, the regulation of hormones, and physically re-energize us. Without it, the chance of getting sick, feeling depressed, and unhealthy weight gain increases. During REM, our brain processes and synthesizes memories and emotions, which is vital for learning and higher-level thinking. Lack of REM leads to difficulty concentrating, memory issues, as well as slower cognitive and social processing.
Over the past 30 years, the number of short sleepers (a person who gets 6 hours, or less, of sleep a night) have increased significantly. Short term, this leads a decrease in concentration, creativity, mood regulation, and productivity; long term, this increases the risk for developing certain diseases.
Some of the Major Benefits of Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Include:
- Increased production of protein molecules to repair cellular damage, which strengthen our immune system to fight infection and stay healthy
- Reduced levels of stress and inflammation, which is linked to heart disease and strokes
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved memory
- Higher understanding and retention
- Enhanced alertness
- Regulation of hormones that control appetite and fat storage
- Decreased chance of developing type 2 diabetes
- Growth hormone production necessary to maintain muscle and bone mass
- Moderation of cortisol levels, which minimizes the occurrence of mood disorders, like depression
It is important to realize the necessity of sound sleep and make it a priority. Too often other activities take precedent and lack of slumbering is accepted as a part of life. Sleep, along with exercise and healthy eating, is necessary for optimal health and development. Learn how exercise and proper nutrition can minimize insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and sleep-disordered breathing (including sleep apnea) by contacting Dan at (978) 807-8579 or visit seachangefitness.net to learn more.