We’ve all heard how important sleep is, and I’m guessing that most of us would agree that it IS important. But knowing about it and actually doing it are two different things, right. 🙂
I know for me personally, I’m more apt to do (or not do) something if I have some facts, big enough in my mind, to warrant a lifestyle change.
Before we were pregnant with our littlest (2 months as of this writing), I was the mom who went to bed after midnight and got up at 5am. Travis, my husband, kept telling me it would catch up with me eventually. I agreed of course, but I was a creature of habit. Converting the knowing – to the actual doing – was hard.
But eventually enough articles about sleep crossed my path that I began to see the wisdom in getting those 8 hours in.
What happens without enough sleep
When I began to fall asleep in the middle of the day, became cranky and irritable, and started dozing while driving. . .I knew something had to change.
Without enough sleep:
- your body’s immunity and defenses are lowered, putting you at risk of developing colds, flus, and even chronic illnesses with long-term sleep deprivation.
- your ability to concentrate is intefered and can negatively affect both short and long-term memory
- your emotions are effected, making you more likely to have a short temper and mood swings
- the production of cortisol increases – this is the stress hormone. It also lowers the level of a hormone called leptin which tells your brain you’ve had enough to eat. This causes weight gain and promotes obesity. Read more about how sleep affects the ability and inability to lose weight.
- your body is prompted to release higher levels of insulin eating. This in turn promotes fat storage and increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- it can lead to problems like high blood pressure.
How much sleep do I need?
What really amazed me was the amount of sleep recommended based on age. I can tell you from current experience how much a newborn sleeps (and how much a mama doesn’t 😉 ), but I was most surprised by the amount recommended for school agers.
|Age||Recommended Amount of Sleep|
|Newborns||16–18 hours a day|
|Preschool-aged children||11–12 hours a day|
|School-aged children||At least 10 hours a day|
|Teens||9–10 hours a day|
|Adults (including the elderly)||7–8 hours a day|
Just like oxygen, food, and water – your body needs sleep in order to function properly.