Adequate Sleep is Serious Business

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Adequate Sleep is Serious Business
© Tina Anderson,
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Gaining weight, fuzzy thinking and premature aging are all possible results from inadequate sleep. Why and how much do we need and why the big deal?

Dogs certainly know how to get some shut eye!

Lots of big-time health issues are related to lack of sleep. Studies show a strong correlation between gaining weight and lack of sleep. This is probably because insufficient sleep whacks out our hunger hormones.

Leptin, (which suppress hunger) drops and Ghrelin, (which stimulates our appetite), increases. If you wake up tired or get tired during the day, you often start a vicious cycle riddled with less resiliency to stress and more reliance on carbs and caffeine. And, since snacking and slurping down the Joe only helps temporarily, you may find yourself reaching for more again and again. Getting to sleep at night might not be so easy afterwards.

That’s a big deal because studies show that consistent sleep deprivation may increase the onset and/or severity of age-related issues such as hypertension, memory loss and diabetes in addition to obesity. According to Eve Van Cauter, Ph.D., at the University of Chicago, the metabolic and endocrine changes that result from inadequate sleep mimic many of the hallmarks of aging and researchers are also finding that our brains need sleep more than any other part of our bodies. The hippocampus is important for spatial learning and has the unique ability to generate new brain cells throughout life, a process called neurogenesis.

Sleep plays a role in making sure those new cells can survive which leads to the obvious conclusion that a lack of adequate sleep could prohibit the cell rejuvenation. Learning new things that require spatial memory keeps our brains young because it increases the survival rate for new brain cells in the hippocampus. Not sleeping enough eliminates that process due to the suppression of the neurogenesis, meaning long-term sleep deprivation could be detrimental to neural functioning. And, it doesn’t stop there. Adults who sleep less than they should are more prone to car accidents, depression and alcohol abuse.

Did you get get enough sleep last night? What is enough sleep? How many of you can get by with less sleep than you know you need? Just too much to get done in a day, right? Getting adequate sleep is serious business and you don’t want to mess with it on a long-term basis. I saw a segment on Good Morning America with a heart specialist who said that women are at a much higher risk for heart attacks when they get either not enough or too much sleep. Her recommendation was between 7-9 hours with 7-1/2 being optimal.

Yet, others swear by as little as five and as much as 10 hours. So, how does one know? One way is to take a long vacation and after a couple of days of catching up on your sleep debt, see how many hours you need to wake without an alarm clock. Or, if you often feel like you need coffee midday to remain functional, you’re probably not getting enough. One other thing. Properly timing out exercise is a critical part of maximizing the benefits. Vigorous exercise right before bedtime can lead to a poor night’s sleep. Sleep experts recommend exercising at least three hours before bedtime, and the best time is usually late afternoon because body temperature rises during exercise and takes as long as six hours to start dropping.

Cooler body temperatures are associated with sleep onset so it’s important to allow the body adequate time for this process. What else? Quiet time before bed; cool, dark and quiet rooms and no electronics for at least 30-minutes prior to sleep. Researchers believe that computer screens, fluorescent lights and TVs cause our brains to think it might be morning, prompting the release of cortisol. Now you know better. Sweet dreams!

Live In The Groove At 50 & Beyond Author Tina Anderson Certified through ACE and AFAA and possessing a number of specialty fitness certifications, Tina Anderson started teaching group fitness in 1985 and has coordinated or consulted for over 15 group fitness programs, served as a master trainer and coordinator for Star Trac Fitness and their Precision Cycling Program, completed project work with major corporations and on international projects, presented as a guest speaker and maintained her personal training business throughout. As a fitness author, Tina's articles often appear in national and international fitness publications.

Tina is an independent trainer in the South Orange County, California, area where she trains small groups and private clients - contact Tina Anderson for information on her current and upcoming Battleground Fitness programs and classes.

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9 Responses to Adequate Sleep is Serious Business

  1. Ashley Brown says:

    Sleep is as important as water and food for our health. It is also help in fighting aging ,reducing stress. A properly rested body has a stronger defense system against free radicals and cancers compared to a sleep-deprived body.

  2. Abel brions says:

    Very true,I have seen the effects of lack of sleep on one of my cousins and it was real bad ,he had various diseases started growing in him which are not even known to the persons of his age.i strongly reccomend proper rest and sleep of at least 6-7 hours,and i cannot agree more to this blogpost,thanks for sharing this information.
    Abel brions recently posted..Dermology Latest BlogMy Profile

    • Thanks, Abel. I think we are just now starting to truly recognize and become aware of the casualties of sleep deprivation. Glad you are out there reminding others of its importance!

      • Abel brions says:

        The one who takes the initiative is the one who has to be regarded credible,and thanks to you for raising such a point that is known to people but don’t consider it important and always ignore the importance of adequate sleep.People nowadays due to increased working hours tend to shift their sleep hours and in many cases reduce them to a dangerous extent. I have observed the difference from 1997 to 2012 ,people had their working hours as morning 8 to 2 or 3 pm at the most ,but due to the pressure of increased productivity human lifestyle has changed and this has adversely affected their health ,one example is reduced average life years.If this issue is not addressed as soon as possible then this might lead to drastic consequences for human race.
        Abel brions recently posted..Dermology Latest BlogMy Profile

  3. Sleep is important in maintaining your health.Without it, you become more susceptible to health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and depression.
    Sleep May
    Prevent Cancer
    Reduces Stress
    Reduces Inflammation
    Makes You More Alert
    Bolsters Your Memory
    May Help You Lose Weight and
    Naps Make You Smarter
    Jenny Williams recently posted..Healthy Habits for Beautiful SkinMy Profile

    • Hi Jenny and I bet you are getting enough – you look radiant and healthy! Thanks for the list – really brings it to light. Hopefully, this will result in a few more peeps getting better shut-eye! Appreciate you sharing it with us!

  4. Ella Torres says:

    Thanks Jenny For sharing your knowledge with us. I would like to add that sleep plays a vital role in promoting physical health, longevity, and emotional well-being.
    Ella Torres recently posted..Dietary Skin Care and Best Anti Aging Eatables EverMy Profile

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