I am sure if you have school age children, everyone is out the door and in school. You are either enjoying some free down time, running errands, cleaning up the kitchen from breakfast, finally finishing the cold coffee or off to work. Whatever it may be, you are probably feeling tired already this morning.
I don’t have any school aged children yet, but Monday’s and Tuesday’s are the busy days with activities for the kiddos and mom. We do gymnastics and then I have a Mom’s group. So we are rushing out the door Monday and Tuesday mornings. I usually start my morning around 4:45 a.m to fit in my run and have time for getting both the kids out the door and my husband’s lunch, sometimes dinner, packed.
Thinking how I didn’t get to catch up on sleep over the weekend. No sleeping in, especially now with marathon training underway. Long runs take up Saturday, and I have to be back before baby boy wakes up to eat
Sleep can’t be caught up on. So skimping during the week, thinking you’ll catch up over the weekend, doesn’t work. It’s like having to take vitamins daily or eat a balanced diet daily to supply the body with the nutrients it needs. Many vitamins aren’t stored for the next day, so everyday you have to supply your body with a balanced diet to meet the recommended amounts for such vitamins and minerals, otherwise your low and eventually deficient.
In much the same way, we become deficient on sleep. Sleep doesn’t carry over and you can’t save it. It’s easy to be sleep deprived and most of us as parents are deficient in sleep. No matter the age of our children. We chose to cram more into the day, taking time from our restful nights.
Like I mentioned last week, I am doing a little series on the importance of sleep. Today I’ll focus on why sleep is important. Here are my top reasons why a more restful night or more sleep should be a priority.
Healthy Brain Function /Mental Health Benefits – Without adequate sleep your brain doesn’t function properly. During sleep your brain is preparing for the next day, forming new pathways to help you retain information and learn. It’s no wonder we can tell when our children need more sleep, just by their behaviors in school or at home. They learn better and retain more on a good night’s rest. Sleep helps us to pay attention and make decisions, be creative and enhances our problem-solving skills. I know when I have skimped on too much sleep. I can’t form sentences or even keep a conversation. Controlling emotions becomes difficult, more anger, mood swings, impulsive behavior and lack of motivation occurs.
Our Physical Health is Tied to Sleep –
- Sleep helps to heal and repair our heart and blood vessels. In fact, ongoing sleep deficits increases one’s risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.
- Sleep deficiency increases risk of obesity – Sleep maintains a healthy balance of hormones, those hormones that control our hunger (ghrelin) and our fullness (leptin), and if you don’t have enough shut eye levels of ghrelin go up and leptin falls. You feel hungrier when you are tired, compared to when you are more rested. So if you are trying to lose weight, check your sleep, you could need more.
- Sleep will affect how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone controlling blood glucose levels. With inadequate sleep, comes higher blood sugar levels.
- Inadequate sleep can cause weight gain, because less sleep affects how our body processes and stores carbohydrates
- Sleep supports growth and development, probably why babies need it and sleep so much. Think of how much they grow in one year!!
- Hormones boost muscle mass and help repair cells and tissues while sleeping, and sleep can play a role in fertility.
Work Productivity / School Productivity – Studies show that those who are deficient in sleep are less productive at work and school. Those who skimp on sleep make more mistakes, take longer to finish tests, and have a slower reaction time.
Immune System Declines with Less Sleep – Without sleep your immune system can’t thrive. Our immune system works to defend against foreign and harmful substances, and sleep deficiency can change the way the immune system responds, which may be why fighting common infections is hard. If you are getting sick over and over again, have you checked the amount of sleep you get each night? I know I am more susceptible to flus and colds when I am sleep deprived. My body just can’t defend itself as it should be able.
- Insufficient sleep is an immune suppressant
- Adequate sleep helps in the fight against cancer
- Inadequate sleep hurts our body’s killer cells (those killing the oxidants and toxins in our bodies)
Increase Quality of Life & Quantity – Those who don’t skimp on sleep, on average, live longer and live a more fuller life. Quality of life is enhanced with more sleep and lifespan lengthened.
More Sleep Controls Inflammation – With more sleep our bodies are able to curb inflammatory responses, helping decrease arthritis and premature aging.
Sleep Reduces Stress – The more sleep I have, the less stressed I feel, even if it means the laundry didn’t get done or the floors vacuumed. All this can wait!! I feel more clarity with sleep. Studies show those with more sleep, live less stressed lives.
You’ll have to decide how important sleep is for you. I hope that from this post, you’ll understand that sleep is more important than you maybe once thought. That maybe it’s not worth staying up to binge on Hulu or Netflix, or even to do another load of laundry. Sleep should outweigh the latest TV show and dirty sink.
Until Next Time Be Whole and Be Fit
Michelle Henry says
Great post! It’s so important to understand just how important sleep is. Thanks for sharing!