I’ll go ahead and admit that I’ve been burning the candle at both ends as of lately. I’ve been trying to eat well, keep consistent with my workouts, which I have for the most part … but I also haven’t been getting the sleep that I need. Turns out, sleep is really important for optimal health and just functioning well throughout the day.
According to WebMD, a good night’s sleep is often the best way to help you cope with stress, solve problems, or recover from an illness. The consequences of not enough sleep include impaired memory and thought processes, depression, and decreased immune response.
Proper rest is also really important for recovering from those tough workouts. According to helpguide.org, growth hormones are released during the sleeping process, which are key to restorative processes like muscle repair. Sleep deprivation can even be dangerous to others; it effects motor skills like driving.
So how much sleep to you actually need? It varies among individuals, but a good rule of thumb is that you should wake up feeling refreshed; if you feel groggy and exhausted on a regular basis, you need more! Most adults need 7-8 hours. Older adults are thought to need the same amounts, however may sleep lighter, for shorter periods, and sleep may also include a nap during the day.
If you’re in a short term ‘sleep debt’, you may only need a day or two of increased sleep to catch up. However, if you’re chronically deprived, it may take much longer. You might even need a ‘sleep vacation’, where you devote several days to sleeping as long as needed. Eventually your body will revert to optimum sleep needs.
The moral of the story: getting enough sleep is one of the simplest – but for some the hardest – things you can do for your own good health.