Growing up, sleep was something I didn’t worry about much. I never really wanted to obey my bed time and even if was sent to bed, I’d keep my eyes open and just keep my mind moving. Of course, this started to become a problem when I was in Middle School and I’d start nodding off in school. Little did I know how much sleep really impacted your health.
As I grew up, I thought working a midnight shift, then going to school in the morning, then going to bed would be wise, but at that point the “biological clock” was thrown off so much, there would be times when I couldn’t remember what day it was or what my schedule was.
Let me just say it now what most everyone knows, but most everyone (including me) ignores. Sleep is one of the most important functions in a daily routine. When New Year’s Eve rolls around, many make that resolution to be healthier or lose weight, but some still don’t get the sleep they need which leads to fatigue and then their diets crashing. I didn’t realize this until it happened to me. One of my main objectives to help lose weight was to run up and down a set of stairs back when I was in college. For seven weeks, it went great…then life got busy…more cramming for tests, more work, less sleep and all of a sudden I landed in a hospital bed with a severe viral infection. Well, guess what the remedy was? Lots of sleep (Doctor Recommended!)
There are several benefits to attaining a full night’s sleep (7 to 8 hours for adults). I can personally state how true many of these are, but for further info, see any health websites:
- It makes you feel better! I’ve already shared how it can keep you from leading a healthy lifestyle.
- It improves memory. When I worked the midnight shift (instead of sleeping), there were times when I would become very forgetful. One time I even drove all the way down to school from work (an hour’s ride) when I needed to just go home (which was a 10 minute ride).
- It leads to a longer life span. Obviously if sleep leads to bad health, it also could lead to a quicker death. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got much more to do on this Earth to shorten my life span right now.
- Less sleep means higher probability of heart disease.
- It leads to more creativity and less failures. I’m a writer and what I’ve found is that more sleep has allowed my creative process to flow better. I remember what effects less sleep had on my grades, so I know how much of an effect it has on a brain cycle.
- It leads to better athletic performances. There’s a reason why sleep is associated with health and for sports athletes, it improves performance by building stronger muscles, more endurance and better stamina.
- It calms your nerves. I can honestly say that I’m irritated, frustrated, and worse for wear when I don’t get my full sleep. I’ll make mistakes that I usually don’t make and in a way it affects my personal and professional relationships. (It’s not that I got off the wrong side of the bed, it’s the fact I got off the wrong hour!)
- It leads to better road awareness. For people that work the morning shift and drive as soon as they wake up, I can assure you it leads to less accidents. I can’t deny I’ve woken up with barely any sleep and driven out there, only to start nodding off while driving. I’ve also worked for years in the transportation industry where I’ve seen how many fatalities have been affected by drivers that fell asleep. (A lot!)
- It leads to less depression. I’ve also worked in mental health and seen how sleep and depression go hand in hand. Less sleep will lead to more anxiety and depression.
So how do we attain more sleep with such a busy lifestyle? It’s tough, especially for those that are going to school and work or those that have to hold down more than one job for their family. Sleep is something, though, that can’t be sacrificed – that can lead to dangerous consequences. Luckily, the rest of the world can wait.