A man sleeps on the couch, with a TV remote control balancing on his protruding stomach.

Sleep is critical to live. Some would argue it’s just as, if not more important, that water! Have you ever been awake for 24 hours straight? How about sleeping less than 5 hours and going to work the next day? If you’ve done either then you know how important sleep can be to your brain and behavior. More than 1/3 of US adults get less than 7 hours of sleep a night. What does this lead to? Here’s a list:

 

  • Increase in hunger hormone (ghrelin)
  • Decrease in satiety hormone (leptin)
  • Elevated cortisol levels (stress hormone)
  • Insulin resistance (inability to convert and use food as energy)
  • Estrogen goes up (increases body fat)
  • Testosterone goes down (decreases lean muscle)
  • Risk of heart disease & stroke increases
  • …..and a bad attitude L

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The worst part is that all of this in preventable and YOU are the one who’s responsible for it. “But, I have so much work to do when I get home!” That may be true but recent reports show that at least 1-2 hours of our lack of sleep is ‘voluntary bedtime delay’. This means most of us are laying in bed texting, reading facebook posts, or watching TV instead of going to sleep. If this is you then you are statistically 1 out of 3 adults who intentionally delay sleep.

 

Worse than this our children are starting to get less and less sleep as well. Strong studies have a shown a correlation to childhood obesity with relation to sleeping patterns. A study in England estimated a 45% increase in childhood obesity for children age 3 who did not receive at least 12 hours of sleep per day. In addition, the study showed for every hour children (ages 5, 7, and 10) slept less than 9 hours had a 50% increase risk of being obese by their early 30s.

 

It is important to understand that the affects and risks due to lack of adequate sleep are cumulative; the more days you spend not getting enough sleep will continually increase your risk of the health issues down the road. You cannot ‘make up’ for your missed sleep by sleeping 14 hours on Saturday or Sunday. This will only INCREASE your risk of heart disease, weight gain, stroke, and so on.

 

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The good news? Sleep 8 hours tonight will immediately begin the process of healing your body and getting your hormones in order. This must become a nightly routine or the risks will only go back up. Follow these simple rules to get good sleep every night:

  • Turn off all electronics 30 min. prior to sleep
  • Take a Melotonin or Magnesium supplement (you’ll sleep like a rock)
  • Don’t drink alcohol before bed (you’ll have restless sleep)

These are just a few things to work on for better sleep. There are other methods (i.e. meditate or read 10-30 min. prior to sleep) that can help. Experiment and see what works for you. Start tonight.

STAY FIT MY FRIENDS!….and sweet dreams!