You’re doing everything right to live a healthy, chill lifestyle. You’re eating a balanced diet with plenty of veggies, protein, and fruit, you’re exercising regularly, and you’re slowing down, incorporating yoga, or even meditation into your daily routine.
Did you know you could be sabotaging all of those efforts by skimping on one thing - sleep?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, a third of the U.S. population gets less than the 7 - 9 hours of recommended amount of shut-eye each day. The CDC considers the sleep deprivation problem a national health epidemic.
So what happens when we sleep and what, exactly, is sleep deprivation doing to our bodies?
When You Sleep, Your Body is Repairing Itself.
Sleeping essentially recharges your body’s battery. While you sleep, your blood pressure and body temperature drops, blood supply to tissues increases, aiding in tissue growth and repair, and growth hormones contributing to muscle development are released.
Hunger Regulating Hormones are Affected by Sleep
Did you know your body has two hunger-related hormones that are regulated by sleep? Leptin, which decreases your appetite, increases and ghrelin, which increases your appetite, decreases. When you don’t get enough sleep, these hormones get out of whack. The result is possible weight gain, regardless of a regular exercise schedule.
Too Little Sleep Can Lead to Chronic Disease
Too little sleep has been shown to increase insulin resistance and levels of stress hormones, both of which have can contribute to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It can also increase C-reactive protein which can be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
You Can Be Drowsy and Less Focused Without Enough Sleep
Not enough sleep leaves you susceptible to short term illness, but it can also cause a lack of focus and dangerous drowsiness. According to the National Highway Transportation Administration, 1 in 25 adult drivers have reported falling asleep at the wheel!
Why Aren’t We Getting Enough Sleep and What Do We Do About It?
Our bad habits are sabotaging our sleep. Skip the alcohol or coffee in the evening, and leave your cell phone in another room. Caffeine and technology distractions make it harder to fall asleep, and alcohol makes it harder to stay asleep.
Partners who snore, kids or dogs in bed with you, or an uncomfortable mattress are additional sleep stealers.
(Gently) Kick the kids or dog out of the bed - they have their own, after all! - since their constant movement through the night can mean sleep disturbance for you. Invest in some quality earplugs to drown out snoring and other ambient noise.
A lumpy, bumpy, worn out mattress will kill your sleep. If you find yourself tossing and turning all night, it may be time for an upgrade. Zonkd’s premium gel Memory Foam creation with three different firmness options and a dual-layer cooling system is perfect for getting a great night’s sleep.
Remember, good sleep isn’t a luxury - it’s a necessity. When you make it as much of a priority as exercise and mindfulness, you’ll reap benefits that last for years to come.