4 Major Reasons You Need To Prioritize Sleep

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The “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mentality can quite literally take you right to your grave. Even though sleep is as important as exercise and a healthy diet, we don’t prioritize it in the same way -and the results can be devastating. Obesity, weight gain, diabetes, heart attack, cancer, depression, heart disease, poor immunity, decreased memory, lack of focus, accelerated aging, chronic pain, and low sex drive are all linked to sleep deprivation.

One study done by the University of Chicago showed that after 3 to 4 days of sleep deprivation, 3 out of 10 previously healthy young adults had blood glucose levels that were considered pre-diabetic. In addition to the correlation of sleep deprivation and diabetes, people who don’t get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night are more likely to be obese. 65% of the American adult population is now overweight. The major culprits: sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and sleep deprivation.

So, if you want to optimize your brain and live a truly healthy lifestyle, here are a few reasons you should start prioritizing sleep.

Better Focus & Memory

A rested brain is a healthy brain that functions better and is more creative long term. Without a healthy, rested brain we can not focus and work at our maximum capacity. What good is getting to the office early if your brain is exhausted and foggy? It really is counterproductive to deprive yourself of sleep. A rested brain can put out better quality work in a shorter amount of time than a tired, semi-focused brain. So, what would you rather do? Put out higher quality work over a shorter period of time or put out lower quality work over a longer period of time? The answer is obvious.

Anti-Aging

There’s a reason they call it “beauty rest.” Sleep is the best anti-ager out there. There’s no cream, mask, serum, or super elixir that can replace the beautifying and anti-aging effects of sleep. A study done by the University Hospitals Case Medical Center found that sleep deprivation increased facial skin aging. The research, led by Dr. Elma Baron, was presented in spring 2013 at the International Investigative Dermatology Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland.

“Our study is the first to conclusively demonstrate that inadequate sleep is correlated with reduced skin health and accelerates skin aging. Sleep deprived women show signs of premature skin aging and a decrease in their skin’s ability to recover after sun exposure. Insufficient sleep has become a worldwide epidemic. While chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to medical problems such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and immune deficiency, its effects on skin function have previously been unknown.” Dr. Baron concluded.

So, forget the fancy facials, surgeries, and Botox -just get some beauty rest!

Manage Weight

Can’t seem to lose weight or that stubborn last 5 pounds even though you’re exercising and eating healthy? Lack of sleep may be to blame. Proper sleep helps regulate the hormones that are responsible for appetite, stress response, and weight. Sleep deprivation leads to imbalanced hormones which leads to weight gain. A study done by the University of Chicago concluded that sleep deprivation and weight gain/obesity are closely related:

“Recent studies in humans have shown that the levels of hormones that regulate appetite are profoundly influenced by sleep duration. Sleep loss is associated with an increase in appetite that is excessive in relation to the caloric demands of extended wakefulness.

The discovery of a profound alteration in the neuroendocrine control of appetite in conditions of sleep loss is consistent with the conclusions of several epidemiologic studies that revealed a negative association between self-reported sleep duration and body mass index. Taken together, the current evidence suggests a possible role for chronic sleep loss in the current epidemic of obesity.

Clearly, sleep is not only for the brain but also for the rest of the body. Recent evidence suggests that sleep loss, a highly prevalent — and often strongly encouraged — condition in modern society could be a risk factor for major chronic diseases, including obesity and diabetes.”

Want to get in the best shape of your life? Get some sleep!

Better Overall Health

The benefits of sufficient sleep are endless. It’s a wonder why it’s not more popular to brag about a good night’s rest than it is about pulling an all-nighter at the office! Better memory, healthier skin, balanced hormones, longer lifespan, lower risk for obesity, reduced risk of diseases including diabetes, depression, heart disease and cancer, are just some of the incredible benefits of getting enough sleep. The facts don’t lie: if you want to optimize your mind and body to work at its full capacity, you must get enough sleep. Most doctors consider 7-8 hours of sleep per night to be the most healthy range. If you can’t get the ideal amount of 7-8 hours, get within 1 hour of both ends of the spectrum. 6 hours for people who prefer less sleep or 9 hours maximum.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, check out our snooze-worthy articles for a better night’s rest. If you have persistent sleep problems or chronic insomnia, see a physician. Solving your sleep problems can greatly improve your quality of life.

Happy snoozing!

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Sources:

University of Chicago, The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Hormones and Metabolism

Science Magazine: The Role of Sleep in Learning and Memory

Harvard Medical School: The Relationship Between Sleep and Health

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