Feng Shui’d bedrooms are not just for your love life- sleep is enormously important. In fact, sleep is even more important that I thought in the short-term and the long-run!
If you are super-busy, you might skimp on sleep to get everything done. I mean, what’s a hour less sleep every day, right? That’s what I thought, until it had a big impact on my life over time. Now, sleep is a huge part of the day, and after some research into the benefits of sleep, its more important to me than ever! Here are some very eye-opening reasons to get some more shut-eye!
Sleep & Your Life- some compelling research:
1. Sleep deprivation can affect your immune system in a big way. According to sleep researchers at UC Berkley, “A person who has slept five hours a day or less is twice as likely to get sick as someone who has had adequate sleep.”
2. Sleeping too little will impact your athletic ability, including your precision. A study of Stanford basketball players reaped rewarding reasons to sleep much more- athletic performance was definitively affected by sleep.
3. Sleeping too little can impair your mind significantly. In an article from The Franklin Institute, University of Minnesota Medical School neurology professor Mark Mahowald discusses the severe impact of not sleeping on your brain, even if you just pull one all-nighter: “One complete night of sleep deprivation is as impairing in simulated driving tests as a legally intoxicating blood-alcohol level.” YIKES!
4. Sleeping has an impact on your ability to learn and remember, both before and after you study. Harvard Medical School has studied the affects of sleep on learning, and it has been shown that its not only important to sleep enough BEFORE learning something but, also, to assimilate and remember, adequate sleep is important AFTER you study. This study of sleep and learning fascinates me, and its a great reason to get to bed early when you are trying to learn anything (not just in formal class)!
5. And the kicker- sleep can affect your GENES! Sleep researchers in the UK have found that after ONE WEEK of under 6 hours of sleep (um, raise your hand if this seems like something you do often…my hand is raised!) blood tests of subjects in the study revealed that over 700 genes had changed their expression. WOW!!! The impact of this? Well, if your genes decide to turn “on” stressed out, negative expressions and inflammatory responses, the implications are not something I’d like to experience in my life. My family has a history of heart disease, almost other things, and I’d like to avoid all genetic changes that incite this tendency, personally! While its not detailed as to “what” the changes are, the implication is that they are not awesome! You can read all of the details in this Huffington Post article right here, and tell me how you feel about it. It was a real game-changer for me in the sleep department!
Of course, to assimilate and remember all of this information better, get a good night’s sleep! And if you wonder how much you need, Stanford uses this little quiz called the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Also, it should be noted that I don’t know the control-group details of the research above, but many of these sleep tests rely on the individual’s responses without having caffeine or alcohol that can blur perception and create artificial stimulation, so you may want to try the Sleepiness Scale before your cup of coffee or tea!
Now… to not leave you in a lurch, here are a few of my holistic tips to sleep better naturally. Sweet Dreams!