The Importance of Getting Enough Sleep:
Many people don’t get enough sleep at night because they’re “too busy” doing other things. Getting enough sleep is critically important to maintain good health, and to help you heal if you’ve got health issues. It’s also a major factor in preventing future health issues.
Facts About Sleep
More and more scientific research is coming out showing the importance of sleep, and how detrimental lack of sleep is to your health. Recent research has found that people who routinely sleep less than seven hours per night have 21-26% higher chance of dying of any cause, than people who routinely sleep more than eight hours per night.
Every single animal sleeps. There are no animals that do not sleep. Biologically, that means sleep is as important as breathing and eating.
There’s been some fascinating brain research recently that found out more about how the brain works and what it does at night. I was astounded when I read it. When we’re active during the day, working, exercising, and doing our daily activities, we’re heavily using our brain functions. This causes a build up of toxins and chemical byproducts that naturally occur as part of that process. When we sleep at night, the brain actually pumps through a nightly “wash cycle”, like a dishwasher, that washes out those toxins and built up byproducts from the day. Just stop and think about that for a moment. What happens if you don’t wash your dishes thoroughly? Lots of crud builds up. Now think about that happening in your brain. What do you think happens when lots of toxins and crud build up in the brain? Is it going to have an impact on brain function and health? Absolutely. If you don’t get enough sleep at night, the wash cycle doesn’t run properly.
Decades of sleep research show that eight hours of sleep per night is the magic number. Kids and teenagers need a little bit more.
If you think doing more stuff is more important than sleeping, consider the research mentioned above. And, research has shown that those who don’t get enough sleep (less than 8 hours) gain more weight, and there’s an increase in heart attacks in those who don’t get enough sleep.
How To Get Control Of Your Sleep
As you can see, eight hours of sleep per night really is important. Tonight, consider whether you really need to do one or two more things before bed. Do you really need to stay up and watch the end of the movie or finish reading the book tonight? Plan your time at night, just like during the day. What time do you need to go to bed in order to get eight hours of sleep? If you start watching the TV program or movie, will it end in enough time to let you get in bed at your target bedtime? Set an alarm if you need to, to tell you to stop whatever you’re doing and get ready for bed. It’s a matter of creating good habits and training your body when it’s time to stop and go to sleep. Never work in bed.
Also, consider whether you’re just doing too much. What can you cut out, or say “no” to? It’s easy to do too much. It happens to everybody at some point. Take charge of your life and balance your work and rest time to maintain your good health.