No More, No Less: Enough Sleep is All You Need
A Common Misconception
Everybody loves the weekends. What Rebecca Black so elegantly expressed in her song, "Friday" tells us that most of us love to party on the weekend and also get some much needed sleep.
Let's go back to that phrase: much needed sleep, which tells us that we hadn't gotten enough sleep in the weekdays - or at least we think we hadn't.
A common misconception among us is that we can spend a lot of late nights doing work late into the night. When the weekdays are over, we get to bed and don't wake up till the next sunset. We tell ourselves: We work hard with little sleep over the weekdays, so we'll sleep the whole day away to "recharge". Unfortunately, that one day (or even two days!) sleep won't make up for the days you've been slaving away under the moonlight. In fact, it'll just make it worse!
When you sleep less...
Your immune system will get hacked and you will be prone to more diseases. That's how vital it is to get the right amount of sleep.
According to the Harvard Women's Health Watch, more people sleep less than six hours. The report also reveals that most people experience major sleeping difficulties every week.
Sleepiness can impair driving performance as much or more so than alcohol (Dawson and Reid, 1997; Powell, 2001). This is true, without a doubt, since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over 100,000 crashes were caused by drowsy and fatigued drivers!
Their slogan: Stay Awake, Arrive Alive is irrevocably a good mantra.
Aside from drowsiness and accidents, people who don't get enough sleep will sometimes find themselves eating more. Sleeping right maintains the balance between our hormones: ghrelin and leptin.
When you don't get enough sleep, the hormones don't work well. The ghrelin hormone, which is responsible for telling our brain that we're hungry, will go up and we will feel hungry, even if we've already eaten!
When you sleep too much...
You will still be prone to diabetes, chronic illnesses, and other problems. You might even have a heart attack!
If being unable to sleep is insomnia, then sleeping too much is hypersomnia. These people will experience anxiety, low energy, and memory problems. According to Dr. Nathaniel Watson, co-director of the UW Medicine Sleep Center in Seattle, "There is too much sleep and there is little sleep. There is an amount of sleep where people become less healthy. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours a night."
While getting too much sleep may not be as dangerous as getting too much sleep (which has direct effects), it's still never a good idea to sleep the whole day through as a way to make up for the lost nights.
Infographics on Getting Better Sleep
Many jobs require over time and there are some things that will deprive you of sleep. Just remember, though, that health will always be wealth. You don't want to work day and night only to end up using your hard-earned money for your own hospital bills.
Here are other readings you need to keep yourself healthy:
- Sleep Smarter: 21 Proven Tips to Sleep Your Way To a Better Body, Better Health and Bigger Success by Shawn Stevenson
- The Effortless Sleep Method: The Incredible New Cure for Insomnia and Chronic Sleep Problems by Sasha Stephens
Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite!
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