In this busy life with our jobs/careers, children, errands, obligations, bills, e-mail and the like, it seems as though sleep has become more of a luxury than a necessity. It is something that has been pushed aside because there are way too many other things that need to be done. After all, it’s easy to assume that the only price we pay after not getting a good night’s sleep is just being tired and cranky the next day. Most of us can deal with that and get over it as the day progresses, but what about what’s really happening to our bodies when we cut out this necessary function?

sleepAlthough many may say that there simply is just not enough time to sleep, what happens when you become ill and must take off of work to go see a doctor? Consistent lack of sleep will manifest itself in ways that are much more time consuming than getting your 7-8 hours a night. Of course it is not always easy to get in a full night’s sleep every night. It is a challenge and time is a factor that most of us struggle with on a daily basis. However, there are ways to manage your day and your time so that you can do what you need to do while maintaining good health.

A good night’s sleep will help to

  • Reduce stress
  • Keep your heart healthy
  • Improve your mood
  • Bolster your memory
  • Make you more alert
  • Reduce inflammation in the body
  • Reduce your risk for depression
  • Improve concentration

Effects of less sleep

When we are lacking adequate sleep, our bodies produce stress hormones and go into a state of high alert. This can bring about significant anxiety, nervousness, irritability, and so on. The body also depends on adequate amount of sleep so that it can repair itself in order to function properly and maintain optimal health.

sleepIt seems as though if we miss a few hours of sleep during the week, we can make up for it on the weekends. Unfortunately it doesn’t work this way. Each stage of sleep provides the body with specific functions that benefit our health. This only works in our favor when we are consistently getting the proper amount of sleep we need as opposed to a few hours during the week and all day on a Saturday or Sunday. If we cut down the number of hours of sleep we are getting, we cut out the proper number of cycles our bodies need to repair and restore themselves. This is what typically leads to physical illness and overall stress. Adults typically need 7-8 hours of sleep while teens and children require a little more. Although life gets hectic, you may want to do yourself a favor and get that extra hour or two of shut-eye that you’ve been sacrificing. I can assure you that it will be well worth it!