By Stephanie Montague
Hey guys and gals! Last week we began talking about sleep. For those that didn’t catch last week’s article here’s a recap.
In “Sleep for health & beauty! Part 1” it stated, Michael Breus, PhD said on average, we need about 7.5 hours of quality sleep per night. 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,” he says. “According to the article, there are 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 tells you when to eat, and when to stop eating. More ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain. Well I don’t know about you but I’m pro-LEPTIN! I have the image in head with the devil Ghrelin on one shoulder and the Angel Leptin on the other. We want leptin guiding us during our eating. However, if we are getting proper sleep this war is not waging.
Now that you’ve been empowered and no doubt encouraged to get your eight hours of sleep let’s finish looking at the benefits.
Mark Stibich, Ph.D. states in his article, “Top 10 Health Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep” that when people get less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep each night they can be at the risk for developing diseases. Since the lack of adequate sleep can bring rise of various diseases here are:
• Sleep keeps the heart healthy! Heart attacks and strokes are more common during the early morning hours. According to Dr. Stibich lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
• Sleep my prevent cancer! I know I’m guilty of sleeping with the television on at night. Honestly, I get much better and deeper sleep in a dark room. The article continues by saying that light exposure reduces the level of melatonin, a hormone that both makes us sleepy and is thought to protect against cancer. Melatonin appears to suppress the growth of tumors. Be sure that your bedroom is dark to help your body produce the melatonin it needs.
• Sleep helps the body make repairs! I exercise and while I’m not going to claim I’m a guru it is important that after hitting the gym I must rest. My body needs to burn that fat I worked so hard to lose and repair the tissues and muscle I used during my workout. The article says, “Sleep is a time for your body to repair damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays and other harmful exposures. Your cells produce more protein while you are sleeping. These protein molecules form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair damage.”
The last one benefit I’m going to talk about is HUGE in our culture…STRESS. Stress is touching everyone, young and old alike. It may be hard to believe that sleep has effect on stress. Many of us are burning the candle at both ends. Because we are all go-getters, achievers, and strivers we are stressed, wondering if will get that promotion, an “A” on the test, complete work at home, get there on time, make it out of traffic, make the team, make that car payment…okay the list goes on. The article says that sleep reduces stress. “When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body’s functions are put on high alert which causes an increase in blood pressure and a production of stress hormones. Higher blood pressure increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes. The stress hormones also, unfortunately, make it harder for you to sleep”
We can see how beneficial sleep is for our body and mind. Sleep is not lazy…it is smart. It is a part of our general health. Here is a sleep challenge for us all. Let’s get 8 hours every day for a week and let’s see if we don’t all feel better. Now record Scandal and get some sleep.