Sleep Is Not a Luxury: Adequate Sleep Is Essential for Overall Health

Sleep Is Not a Luxury: Adequate Sleep Is Essential for Overall Health Sleep is not a luxury so let go of the guilt attached to taking care of yourself. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to make sure that you get adequate amounts of sleep at night and rest during the day.


Losing sleep is linked to weight gain.

You can do it all! Sacrifice that extra hour of sleep for a workout and go, go, go even if you are feeling tired!

Again, big no! Loss of sleep is linked to the body’s inability to regulate insulin and, ultimately, to weight gain. When you run yourself into the ground, your body goes into a “fight or flight” mode and secretes the hormone cortisol, which helps the body convert protein into glucose or sugar. When this glucose is not used it is turned into fat. So, while you are going a 100 miles an hour trying to go to the gym, take care of your family and perhaps even logging in hours at the office, your cortisol levels are raised making it literally impossible for you to lose weight. While of course it is ok to wake up early before the kids and hubbie and get that workout in, make sure you get in bed at a reasonable time so you can get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

Studies have found that lack of sleep negatively affects levels of the appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin. Take care of yourself- sleep is not a luxury it is a priority–so make time to rest and take care of yourself and you will feel so much brighter and clear-headed and the pounds will melt away.

In a recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, women who slept 7 or more hours a night were less likely to put on weight. Those who slept only 6 hours a night were 12% more likely to gain substantial weight- an average of 33 pounds over the course of 16 years. Women who slept 5 hours had a 32% chance of gaining 30 or more pounds. Other studies have linked lack of sleep to a higher BMI (Body Mass Index) and have found that it negatively affects levels of the appetite-regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin.

Losing sleep is linked to the inability to regulate blood sugar.

In a recent article in the New York Times, a study by Dr. Esra F Tasali of the University of Chicogo found that after just three nights of disturbed sleep healthy volunteers had trouble regulating their blood sugar. The volunteers were less sensitive to the insulin the body produces and did not make more insulin to make up for it. The article went on to say that “their bodies behaved as if they were on the express train to diabetes.”

Losing sleep compromises our mental facilities and decision making!

When we are sleep deprived, we make bad food (and other!) choices. These bad food choices lead to bad moods. And, these bad moods lead to loss of sleep. How many times have you skipped lunch only to feel ravenous and jittery and “out of it.” We cannot live fullfiling, rich lives when we are not able to thoroughly think through the decisions we make.
We all have busy lives, but make yourself a priority. Stop the vicious cycle and make time for rest and sleep!

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