Monday, March 14, 2011

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

I thought with the recent daylight savings change, it would be appropriate to address the topic of sleep since many of us feel like we could have used a little more over the past two days. Usually waking up from a good night's sleep helps one feel refreshed and invigorated and ready to face the challenges of a new day. However, many of us don't always get enough sleep.

When I stay up late and get very little sleep I can usually function pretty well the next day but I really feel it two days later. I call this the "delayed sleep hangover" and I have heard that others experience the same thing.

Sleep deficiencies can cause health problems and compromise your overall well being. Studies show a correlation with lower sleep levels and obesity. This may sound like it contradicts logic, but when we become sleep deprived and stressed, our bodies release hormones like leptin, ghrelin, and cortisol that can adversely affect appetite and metabolism. The risk of obesity for low sleep levels applies to both children and adults. There are also health risks associated with sleeping too long, so going to the other extreme isn't the solution.

Many people have wondered how much sleep they really need. Every person is different and will require varying amounts of sleep depending on many factors. People require more if they have been doing strenuous activity, are are sick, pregnant, under stress, growing, etc. Infants and toddlers require much more sleep than adults and might sleep as much as 11-16 hours each night. Most adults only need 7-9 hours but some people claim to get by just fine on 5 or 6 hours per night. Must be nice.

My newest health commitment for the year is to have a curfew for going to bed. I have often been guilty of staying up late when I'm reading, studying, or watching a video. The problem is that the later I stay up, the less productive I am the next day. Consistently going to bed earlier will give most people around 7 hours of sleep each night. Getting more quality rest will allow your body and mind time to recuperate and prepare for the next day.

If you haven't been getting enough sleep, then I'd invite you to make the change and get to bed earlier. Set a regular schedule for when you go to bed and get up each day. I'm not sure about the wealthy or wise part, but early to bed and early to rise can make you healthier.


Emz said...


no joke. unless I take something. which I DON'T want to do.

been getting 3-4 [on average] for last two weeks --- not working for me.

BOOOO! I go to bed at 10pm [pretty good, I'd say]

Middle-aged Mormon Man said...

Tom: I am not getting enough sleep. Ever. But, I wanted to let you know that I have begun my Quest. Today I stopped drinking Mtn. Dew. It is only mid-afternoon and I am dying. (Well, its a start!)

I might need an encouragement infusion this time tomorrow.


Raymond said...

Definitely after reading this NO I need more sleep. Sometimes only 4 hours!
I just have so many things to do … like Facebook! ..OK maybe I go to bed earlier, I know if I did I be a lot happier too!