Sleep: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

So I learned something interesting today. Apparently sleep deprivation affects your brain just as much as being drunk. Maybe this is common knowledge to most, but I had no idea. I have pulled my fair share of all-nighters and as I look back on them now, I totally agree with that statement. I would be goofy all day, walking around but not really functioning, and gorging myself on Uly’s tacos. As it turns out, those are all of the same things we do when I drink in excess. So, the National Sleep Foundation has made a believer out of me.

It’s actually pretty amazing to think of all the ways sleeping positively affects your every day life. It affects weight loss, mood, energy level, memory, your love life, and your ability to be think creatively. There are a million other things it affects as well, but these are the ones that stood out most to me. Basically, it’s one of the most important things you can do with the least amount of effort. That being said, most adults now-a-days get less than 7 hours of sleep every night. I would hate to know what our national sleep debt is, that would be a very large number.

It is true that adults need fewer hours of sleep every night than children or teens, but that’s only because children and teens require a crazy amount of sleep every night. Something along the lines of 10 hours. So comparatively we adults have it way easier. Also, I think sleep deprivation may be the leading cause of teen angst, but maybe don’t quote me on that.

The truth is, sleep deprivation is the equal, opposite of a healthy sleep pattern. It can negatively affect the way our body metabolizes carbohydrates, causing us to gain weight, as well as causing intense mood shifts, lowering the strength of our immune system and has been linked to irregular heartbeats and increased stress levels. More severe cases of insomnia have even led to drug addiction and schizophrenia.

comfybedI have gone through my whole college career thinking, I will sleep when I am dead. While this has absolutely brought about some memorable adventures, I’m realizing now that I probably would have been more successful at work and school if I had taken the time to rest. Sleeping is just as important as eating right, and exercising. In combination, these three routines are the dream team. I’m learning that everything else in my life is just one phase beginning where the other ends, but keeping myself healthy is something I can do forever. If you want to learn more about the myths and facts of sleep deprivation check out the National Sleep Foundation website. They have a lot of great information to guide you on your way to a healthier you!

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  1. Hello! I’ve been reading your website for some time now and finally got the courage to go
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  2. Laura Dudley, RD LD

     /  June 12, 2013

    Great information! I’ve been doing some research on sleep and weight loss. Research suggests that if you are trying to lose weight and you are partially sleep deprived (i.e. 6 hours or less sleep per night) you lose less fat and more muscle (muscle loss was increased 60% in those who slept for 5.5 hours per night for only 14 days as compared to those who slept 8.5 hours). That is huge, and can impact strength, health, and ability to keep weight off as the metabolism shifts down with the muscle loss! If you get less than 8 hours of sleep a night, it’s an area to focus on to improve overall health!

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