Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Good Night's Sleep

It seems like I always have a million things to do, and on many an occasion I allow that fact to make me stay up way past when I should be going to bed to get some sleep. I can do this for a day or two without too many ill effects, but more than that I begin to get fatigued, cranky, and more susceptible to getting sick. Getting a good night's sleep is such a simple thing we can do for our health, but I'd venture a guess a lot of us aren't getting the suggested 8 hours. We think about what we could get done if we could shave off an hour here or there. But here's the thing -- keep this up for long and you might get sick (thus losing more time for work than you gained by not getting enough sleep) or experience lessened productivity. If you get the necessary sleep, you'll feel more alert and refreshed, able to work more efficiently.

Not getting enough sleep was listed as one of the 14 biggest health mistakes women make in a recent article on Prevention's Web site. According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, about 20 percent of Americans get less than 6 hours of sleep a night, and only about 28 percent get the suggested amount of between 7 and 9 hours. And it's not just fatigue or possible sicknesses such as colds that can result from sleep deprivation. Among the potential health risks caused by sleep deprivation over the long term are:

1. Higher risk of heart disease
2. An imbalance in weight-related hormones which can cause us to store more fat and decrease our ability to burn off that fat
3. Depression
4. Anxiety
5. Insulin resistance, which can lead to conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure
6. Car accidents (Drowsy drivers or those who have actually fallen asleep injure more than 40,000 people a year and kill around 1,500.)

Any one of those reasons is enough to make sure we get a good night's sleep. Taken all together, it makes those snoozing hours tremendously important -- for ourselves and those around us.


Michelle Butler on February 9, 2010 at 6:55 PM said...

There's been a lot of news coverage lately about how not getting enough sleep can make you gain weight - or contribute to being overweight. Some even suggest that getting 7 - 7.5 hours of sleep can help women lose weight - with no other changes necessary. More incentive to try to get additional sleep.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on February 9, 2010 at 11:59 PM said...

Wow, that is interesting. Must go to bed now. :)

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