SLEEP— I define this as one of the most basic needs of man. It plays a major role in our life as it is one of the ingredients to living a normal and healthy life. But unfortunately, in this fast-paced world, sleep deprivation is now a common feature of our society. Perhaps, as much as we want to have more of it, we tend to trade sleep for the things that we need to accomplish throughout the day. As a result, people living in this modern world grows to be a sleep-deprived generation.
HOW IMPORTANT SLEEP IS?
You and I both know that sleep is IMPORTANT. However, you and I always have an excuse why we are not having much of it. Busy work schedule, laundry to do, family affairs, parties to go to, school work, and the list goes on forever. I know, because I do these excuses too.
So, how important is it really?
According to Science: During sleep, your body recovers from your days work and stress that you experienced throughout the day. Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels as well as it works to support your brain function. When you sleep, your brain stays active, and to prove this, studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning. When we are sleep deficient, it alters some parts of the brain which affects our emotions and behavior and most especially our physical health.
According to me: Its simple, when you don’t have enough sleep you can’t function effectively. In my experience, when i’m sleep deprived, the things that I want to get done ends up half baked. Thing is, I trade sleep so I can do more, but by not sleeping, I always end up wasting my time by being unproductive throughout the day. Its either I find myself napping on my desk, or wasting a few minutes staring from afar. hahahaha! Its embarassing, but it happens to me all the time.
HOW MUCH SLEEP DO YOU REALLY NEED?
|Average Sleep Needs by Age|
|Newborn to 2 months old||12 – 18 hrs|
|3 months to 1 year old||14 – 15 hrs|
|1 to 3 years old||12 – 14 hrs|
|3 to 5 years old||11 – 13 hrs|
|5 to 12 years old||10 – 11 hrs|
|12 to 18 years old||8.5 – 10 hrs|
|Adults (18+)||7.5 – 9 hrs|
To be able to meet the demands of our everyday life, most adults these days are only having around 5-6 hours of sleep. And to be able to compensate with our body’s need, we try to fill in the gap through daytime naps.
Now Here’s the thing, this table above shows that an adult (ages 18+) needs AT LEAST 7.5 hours of sleep a day. Majority of adults these days think that 6hrs of sleep is good already. Thinking that they could function well with just this amount of sleep. Well, you better think again.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco discovered that some people have a gene that enables them to do well on six hours of sleep a night. This gene, however, is VERY RARE, appearing in less than 3% of the population. For the other 97% of us, six hours doesn’t come close to cutting it.
SO… I guess its safe to say that.. 6 hours of sleep is enough = MYTH. If you’re an adult sleeping less than 7 1/2 hours a day, chances are, you are sleep deprived.
Thing is, our body needs a specific amount of sleep and there is a big difference between functioning effectively and having just enough energy to get by throughout the day. Just try to evaluate, if you are meeting your sleep needs you are supposed to feel energetic and alert all day long. If not, well, you might not be logging enough hours.
WHAT IS SLEEP DEBT?
So.. if you’re not keeping up with the hours that you’re supposed to be sleeping, the hours that you lack becomes a sleep debt. Meaning to say, everytime you trade sleep for something that you think is of “more importance” you add to the debt, and the same with all debts, it needs to be paid.
Many of us try to repay by sleeping on the weekends. But sadly, compensating with our sleep debts doesn’t work that way. Even if you sleep the whole weekend, your body will not completely make up for the lack of sleep.
What happens if you are having a lot of sleep debts?
1. It makes you dumb.
Sleeping plays an important role in our brain development. (And yes, it goes with adults too. Not just infants ) Sleep helps our brain in processing learning and critical thinking. Lack of sleep impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem solving. So if you’re not having enough sleep, you are least likely to remember the things that you learned throughout the day.
2. No sleep= Overweight. Yes. You’re gaining weight because you’re not logging enough sleeping hours my friend. According to a study, adults who are only sleeping for 5 hours a night are likely to gain 2lbs in weight over a week because they tend to snack more. According to this study, “They consumed more calories in the form of after-dinner snacks than in any other meal.”
According to my internet research..
A regular sleep schedule helps your body maintain a regular appetite and hunger schedule. This is because shortening your sleep schedule increases your production of the hormone ghrelin which stimulates hunger and decreases your production of leptin which suppresses appetite. Throwing off your appetite increases the likelihood that you will overeat, study has shown people who sleep less than 7 hours a day are likely to be more obese than those who sleep 8 hours of sleep or more.
As to what I have experienced, the hours that I have invested in the gym has been put to a waste because my muscles did not recover properly. So even if I don’t snack after workout, it still made a negative effect on my body.
3. It causes accidents.
Its obvious, poor sleep would eventually lead to accidents. People who sleep less looses their concentration and leads to serious mistakes (especially for those who are driving) because their reaction time is slower. So if you don’t want to get into a car accident, hit the hay.
4. Damaged skin.
Ladies, we all know this, the secret to beauty is a good night’s sleep. You can’t keep those dark circles under your make up forever. 🙂
How do you avoid it?
1. Make sleep your priority.
I know, I know, you have a lot of commitments. But you should make this a priority. Adjust your schedule so you can have enough time for sleep. Check your day to day activity, maybe you are committing to a lot of things and maybe you can cut back a few from it just so you can have more time for your sleep. We have 24 hours a day, no matter how busy you are, believe me, you can make time for it.
2. Set a regular bedtime and regular waking time. If you are having trouble sleeping at night, you can discipline your body by setting a regular bedtime . This way, your body will always have this pattern which will help you in having the right sleeping hours.
3. Limit your naps. We try to compensate by napping but sometimes, it doesn’t help. A power-nap can make you more alert and productive but only if you do it correctly. I’ve heard in a TV interview before that the most effective power nap should only be for 20 minutes. If you go higher than that, you are likely to feel more tired and unproductive.
4. Be smart about what you eat or drink.
If you want a good night sleep, watch what you eat and drink before going to bed. To some people, coffee has been part of their everyday life that its difficult for them to avoid it. You can limit your coffee to 2 cups a day and exchange your coffe at night with milk or green tea. Also, have your meal 2-3 hours before bedtime, Fatty foods take a lot of work for your stomach to digest and may keep you up, this way you will have a better sleep and you won’t store up fats too! 🙂
5. No gadgets before bedtime. Try to put away all your gadgets before bedtime. or better yet, stay away from facebook, twitter, or instagram hahahaha!
6. Schedule your workout. As for me, I usually workout at night after work. Sleeping normally becomes a problem because my body stays active a few hours after I did my workout. So make sure that you finish your workout routine at least 3 hours before bedtime.
Thing is, no matter how important your day to day activities are, sleeping should be on top of your to-do list.
I hope this post helps! 🙂
Stay Happy and Healthy everyone!
God bless! 🙂
“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” ~3 John 2