5 Reasons Not To Scrimp On Sleep
It's midnight. You’ve just wrapped up your last conference call for the day and all ready to jump into bed for a good night’s rest. But wait–maybe there’s enough time to squeeze in an episode of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix? Or ’30 minutes’ to do a little redecorating on your island on Animal Crossing? And down the rabbit hole, you go. Before you know it, you're left with 4 (at most 5) hours of sleep. Scrimping on sleep, if you do it infrequently, is totally fine. But repeat this behavior every weekday, and you’re putting your health at risk. Here’s why.
Too little sleep can lead to weight gain
Has the number on the scale been steadily creeping up? Well, research indicates that getting a less than ideal amount of sleep is an independent and strong risk factor for obesity across age groups. When you’re low on sleep, you may be too tired, and that can translate into fewer calories burned during your workouts. Or, you could also be taking in more calories than usual simply because you are awake longer and have more opportunities to eat.
Poor sleepers have a greater risk of heart disease
Just so you know, your sleep quality and duration can have a major effect on many health risk factors. More specifically, a review of 15 studies found that individuals who scrimp on sleep are at significantly greater risk of heart disease or stroke than those who sleep 7 to 8 hours nightly!
A deficit in sleep leads to deficits in productivity
If you’re like most people, you spend most of your Saturday afternoons keying in “Ways to become more productive” on Google. Well, what if you don’t need a caffeine pill (or whatever affiliate products the articles link to) for a productivity boost? Really. Here are some numbers: according to a 2011 survey by Harvard, poor sleep caused 11.3 days of lost productivity among poor sleepers. That’s nearly 2 full weeks–lost!
Sleep deprivation affects your mental health
A lack of sleep doesn’t only hurt your health physically, but also mentally. And it’s not merely about general irritability (you know, snapping at a co-worker for no reason?) In fact, studies suggest that sleep problems may increase the risk for, and even directly contribute to, the development of some psychiatric disorders–including depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and ADHD. That seems like an awfully hefty price to pay just to watch another episode on Netflix, doesn’t it?
Even a small loss of sleep adversely impacts the immune system
You must know by now: getting sick and being bed-bound all day is no fun. But that’s exactly what you can expect if you scrimp on sleep! That’s because even a small loss in sleep duration has been shown to impair the immune function. According to a 2009 study, participants who slept less than 7 hours were almost 3 times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more!
Hopefully, you’re now fully aware of the dangers of getting insufficient sleep nightly. That said, though, don’t just expect sleep to happen naturally. Instead, you’ll have to create a routine at night that’ll signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. And what better way is there to create a routine than with ‘The Daily Routine Journal?’ Check out what others are saying about it here.