Are you sleep deprived?

Is Inadequate Sleep Making you Sick?

Remember when you were young and had a bedtime? I bet you hated that bedtime and looked forward to those weekends when your parents let you stay up late. If you were anything like me, the next day after a late night you got in trouble for being cranky and your parents rated to never let you stay up late again. Flash forward to adulthood. We “burn the candle at both ends and expect our bodies and minds to feel fresh and rested and perform at optimal levels. That sleepy feeling you get during the day is your body and mind telling you that you need more sleep. at 5 am is depriving your body and mind of the rest they need to function fully.

Most of us think that coffee is the answer to our accessibility to get to bed at a decent hour. Some of us believe that when we are older, we will rest, but we can continue on like we are on 4-5 hours of sleep a night until we decide we are old and need the rest. Neither of these ideas are accurate.

Inadequate sleep or sleep deprivation significantly affects our health, performance and our safety. Caffeine may make you feel more alert, but it is a short-term fix and has side effects of its own.

In the short-term, inadequate sleep can stress your relationships, and decrease the overall quality of your life. It can decrease your performance of basic tasks in addition to decreasing athletic performance. Lack of sleep causes memory impairment, as well as an inability to think and process information. As little as 1 h hours of lost sleep for only one night can decrease your alertness by as much as 32%. That's a lot! Alertness impacts your ability to drive among other things. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration drowsy driving is responsible for more than 100,000 car crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1550 deaths.

In case the short-term consequences are not enough, sleep deprivation has some long-term consequences as well. People who get less than 7 hours of sleep per night have a higher mortality rate than those who get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. The mortality rate for adequate sleep is higher than for smoking, high blood pressure, or heart disease. If the increased risk of death does not convince you that you need more and better sleep, sometimes these consequences of sleep deprivation will: increased blood pressure, decreased immune response, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, increased level of depression and obesity. Yes, not getting enough sleep can make you fat!

So, what does this all mean? It means you need to get enough sleep to live a full, fit, healthy, and happy life.

Here are some ideas to help you get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep your body and mind need:

1.) Give yourself a bedtime and attach consequences to not keeping it. Just like when you were a child.

2.) Turn of the television, tablet, computer, phone, etc. one hour before bedtime and read a good book, meditate, or take a warm bath. The lights and sounds of electronic devices stimulate the brain and prevent full relaxation.

3.) Do not consume caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.

4.) Get a good workout during the day. Make sure to complete your workout 3 hours before you go to bed. Yoga for relaxation is an exception.

5.) Turn the lights down low an hour before bedtime to help your body and mind adjust and get ready for sleep.

6.) Commit to take good care of yourself. This includes getting enough sleep every night.

Give it a try tonight. You will be amazed at how much better you feel and perform after just one night of 7-9 hours of sleep.