Sleep Is Important For More Than Just Your Beauty – Part 3

Did you know that insufficient sleep – especially if it’s regular – also has mid- and long-term health consequences?

Chronic medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and mood disorders are all associated with lack of sleep

And these conditions – at least the physical ones – may shorten your life.  Sleeping five hours or less per night has been found to increase your chance of dying by about 15 per cent.

(By the way, poor health is also associated with regularly sleeping too long each night, i.e. more than nine hours!)

So…not only is sleep important for your brain [http://sustainablejill.com/sleep-is-important-for-more-than-just-your-beauty-part-2/ ] and your body [http://sustainablejill.com/sleep-is-important-for-more-than-just-your-beauty-part-2/]… getting enough sleep for you is important for sustaining your overall health.

Weight

Did you know that not getting enough sleep is associated with gaining weight?

That’s because insufficient sleep influences the secretion and balance of hormones that help to control appetite and the way the body processes glucose (the high-energy carbohydrate that cells use for fuel).

Diabetes

Slowness in your processing of glucose probably explains why you eat more when you’re tired…and may lead to Type 2 diabetes.

I know I certainly eat more to keep going, when what I really need is sleep.

And eating more – or processing energy more slowly – can lead to you putting on weight…and most of us have enough problems with that anyway ;).

Cardiovascular disease

If you already have high blood pressure, just one night of inadequate sleep can raise your blood pressure the next day…which begins to explain the link between poor sleep and cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Mood

Given that you can be moody and grumpy after one single sleepless night, it makes sense that regularly getting insufficient sleep may lead to long-term mood disorders like depression and anxiety…and that your mood improves dramatically when you get back to a normal sleep schedule.

The remedy?

Get enough sleep!

  • Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night.  Children and teens need more.
  • Aim to practise good sleep habits, such as:
    • Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day (preferably 9-11pm to sleep, 5-7am to rise [http://sustainablejill.com/your-personal-energy-efficiency-sustaining-you/]
    • Using your bed only for sleep (and sex)
    • Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, or exercise before bed
    • A small drink of warm milk or a calming herbal tea such as chamomile before bed time
    • A warm shower or bath before bed, to help you relax and you’re your body temperature drop for sleep
    • Relaxation techniques to calm your mind

Treating sleep as a priority, rather than a luxury, may be an important step in preventing a number of chronic medical conditions…and it can help you feel and function better!

How does your sleep (or lack of it) affect your health?  And what do you do about it?

Share your experiences in the Reply box below.

Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!

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