By Stephanie Montague
“I’m going get my beauty rest.” Have you ever said this or heard someone else say this? If you’re being funny you may think you or someone else needs a coma to become “beautiful”. Either way there is something to be said about sleep.
Ah sleep. Some of us are getting our full eight hours. Some of us are up at night or up with the children so we may not be getting the gold standard eight hours. Some people are only getting six hours of sleep. Because of our culture, many feel they can function with maybe as little as five hours. We often promise to “catch up” on sleep on the weekend. However, if you’re anything like most Americans you are “Weekend Warrior”! You’re up and out there early Saturday morning cleaning, shopping, exercising, running errands, meeting with friends, taking the children here, there and everywhere. Let’s not even talk about evening plans…whew I’m tried just thinking about it all! Sunday rolls around and some of us are at church, cooking, or zoned out in front of the television watching movies or sports. Suddenly you look at the clock and you realize 6 o’clock has rolled around and in just a few hours (if you’re lucky) you’re going to sleep and the alarm sounds all too early. Boom! Monday is on your back! Did you “catch up” on your sleep? No. “Sleep debt is like credit card debt,” says Susan Zafarlotfi, PhD, clinical director of the Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. “If you keep accumulating credit card debt, you will pay high interest rates or your account will be shut down until you pay it all off. If you accumulate too much sleep debt, your body will crash.”
This crash can be literal by falling asleep behind the wheel to falling asleep at times you shouldn’t like at work! Even if you can “function” with five or less hours of sleep you may be “dialing” it in on every area of your life. You may be Mr. or Mrs. Grumpy where you should be enjoying and making moments with family or friends. Let’s examine how lack of sleep effects our health and how we look.
The Health Effect of Sleep
Most of us never think for a minute that a lack of sleep can affect our waistline. Sleep can affect our metabolism. According WebMd.com Michael Breus, PhD, author of “Beauty Sleep” and the clinical director of the Sleep Division for Arrowhead Health in Glendale, Ariz. says, “It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly,” he says. According to the National Sleep Foundation here is a chart suggesting how much sleep we all need:
On average, we need about 7.5 hours of quality sleep per night, Breus says. “If you are getting this already, another half hour will not help you lose 10 pounds, but if you are a five-hour sleeper and start to sleep for seven hours a night, you will start dropping weight.”
Did he say 10 pounds?! Amazing. Maybe it’s because we’re not eating that extra half hour. I’m joking…well kind of. Personally the longer I’m up I begin to desire food knowing that I actually should be sleeping instead of reaching for a bite. We’ve all been there and in fact this is more true than we realize. According to the article it goes on to identify hormones that tell us when to eat. When we are sleep deprived there are two hormones that come on strong. The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. “Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin,” Breus says. “Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.” More ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain. “You are eating more, plus your metabolism is slower when you are sleep-deprived,” Breus says. Well I don’t know about you but I’m pro LEPTIN! I have the image in my head of the Devil Ghrelin on one shoulder and the Angel Leptin on the other. We want leptin guilding us during our eating. But, if we are getting proper sleep this war is not waging.
Next week I will continue with more on sleep… In the meantime, get your 8 hours. I know I will.
Stephanie Montague has an all natural, organic skin and hair line; Cheveux Souffles found at www.cheveuxsouffles.com.