How A Change In Your Sleeping Pattern Could Benefit Your Health
Is sleep the new sweat? I used to love talking about how I “only got 4 hours of sleep” – I was up late working or (more likely) watching Game of Thrones, woke up at 6:15am and made a mad dash to Johann’s Vinyasa Flow class, triumphantly arriving just in time to score the last mat in the front row. Sound familiar?
When you live in a big city and you’re constantly on the go, rest can seem like a foreign country. Or something that people who live in the suburbs do. We somehow got this idea that the more we do, the more we can fit in, the better we will be. But this is simply not true.
I’m not saying don’t exercise or go to yoga, you definitely should – just don’t do it at the expense of your beauty sleep.
Not convinced? Here are 6 reasons to stay in bed (you can thank me when your alarm goes off tomorrow morning):
1. WHEN YOU’RE TIRED YOU OVER EAT: Studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a night are more likely to put on weight. When you’re sleep-deprived, your leptin levels (a hormone which make you feel full) decrease and your ghrelin levels (the hungry hormone) increase. 350 calories on the treadmill doesn’t make up for your afternoon trip to the donut shop – even if it’s gluten free!
2. LACK OF SLEEP STRESSES YOUR BODY: Sleep deprivation increases cortisol, the stress hormone, which is linked to a variety of issues, including: weight gain, anxiety, digestive problems, a weakened immune system, infertility, inflammation and more.
3. SLEEP BOOSTS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM: On the flip side, when you get enough sleep you get sick less. Proper rest keeps your immune system strong and able to ward off bacteria, germs and viruses that could make you sick and miss even more gym classes.
4. SLEEP IMPROVES YOUR MENTAL WELLBEING: Sleepiness makes you irritable, which overtime can lead to depression and anxiety. If you’re looking for a pep in your step, a few extra Z’s could be all you need.
5. LACK OF SLEEP AGES YOUR SKIN: It’s true! Chronic sleep deprivation strips collagen out of your skin (gasp!). There is unfortunately no amount of bone broth or yogi inversions that can make up for this (although both of these things will make you look younger).
6. SLEEPINESS DUMBS YOU DOWN AND MAKES YOU FORGETFUL: This one might seem obvious, but still deserves a mention: when you’re tired, you’re just not as mentally alert and your capacity to learn is reduced. Want to look smart at work or ace that test? Don’t burn the proverbial midnight oil. Go to bed.
So how much sleep should you be getting? We all need to find our “sleep” spot, some people need more, others less, but generally 7-8 hours is good. Experiment to see how much sleep is right for you.
Remember: quality is more important than quantity – we don’t want just any kind of sleep; we want deep REM sleep. Some tips: wear an eye mask, turn off all screens one hour before bed (yes that includes your phone), try a magnesium supplement or meditate.