“Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together.” — Thomas Dekker
Australian grown-ups aren’t sleeping enough, with research by the Sleep Health Foundation revealing that up to 45% of us are sleep-deprived most nights so we wake up sub-par and grumpy.
And while modern wit can get rather cute about it — “I can sleep when I’m dead!” — the fact is when we put Sleep last in our lives and not just in our day, we stand to lose years in the long run. Sobering thought.
Here’s 5 reasons you need an extra hour or two in bed.
- SLEEP ENHANCES OUR WORKOUT.
If we want to make the most of our exercises and athletic pursuits, then catch more Zzz because longer sleep improves our speed, our accuracy, our reaction times and mental wellbeing. Conversely, not enough sleep makes us walk slower and lose our grip quite literally: our lower grip strength gets lousy.
- SLEEP SEALS IN OUR DAY’S EFFORTS.
We all take in new information every day, whether it’s knowledge or memories. Sleep after learning has been described as hitting a save button on new memories so you don’t forget. So pulling an all-nighter before an exam doesn’t actually help, because when your brain is sleep-deprived, it can’t receive new information. It all just ends up bouncing like a full inbox. All contemporary and accessible analogies thanks to brain scientist and TED talker, Matt Walker.
- POOR SLEEP HELPS US GAIN WEIGHT.
People with short sleeps tend to weigh significantly more than their snoozier friends: short sleep durations are one of the strongest risk factors for obesity. I’m talking an increased likelihood of 89% in children and 55% in adults. Conversely, good sleepers eat fewer calories. Apart from the obvious reason — you’re not eating when you’re dreaming! — healthy sleeping habits regulate our appetite hormones.
- LACK OF SLEEP COMPROMISES OUR IMMUNITY.
Struggling to keep the cold at bay? Sleep to power through! Adults who sleep less than seven hours are almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who sleep 8 hours or more. Another study has shown that having only 6 hours of sleep each night for one week modifies a whopping 711 genes in adults. Half of those genes, associated with the immune system, “switch off”. But those genes that increase in activity are those associated with promoting tumours, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. In just one week.
- SLEEP IS GOOD FOR THE HEART.
Adults who don’t consistently get 7 to 8 hours of sleep face a far greater risk of heart disease and strokes compared to their friends who sleep in. In a study to do with daylight savings, a loss of an hour’s sleep per night increased heart attacks by 24% while a gain of an hour showed a reduction of 21%. And that trend is similar for traffic accidents and suicide rates.
Now set your go-to-bed alarm early for tonight! May the Zzz be with you.