Some (no) sleep quick facts:
- Staying up for 24-hours will have you acting like you've got a .10% blood alcohol content;
- 36 hours is when you start seeing problems with hormone levels drop (testosterone, estrogen in particular, stress levels, emotional balance, etc (read on below for more)
- 48 hours is going to hinder your immune function and make you sick;
- and at 72 hours you're more like to hallucinate and your body will demand a shut-down, whatever else you are trying to do (including if you're standing up.)
As many as 35% of American adults don't get solid sleep on an average night - perhaps you're one of them.
Before I share Abigail's fantastic tips with you for getting better sleep, let's talk for a minute about what are some of the more obscure things that happen when you haven't had enough - besides the dark rings under your eyes, and a generally foggy brain the next day.
- Heart health problems - prolonged lack of sleep can increase your risk for heart disease, heart attacks, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure (are we seeing a pattern here??), stroke, diabetes, and (this next one deserves it's own mention...) Running on such a sleep deficit almost doubles your risk of problems with heart disease.
- Low sex drive - If my eight children are not an indicator, I have a pretty healthy intimate life with my husband, but when one of us stayed up too late, too many nights in a row, it becomes a question of sex or sleep - and sleep is going to win the battle. There is nothing sexy about falling asleep in the middle of an intimate moment, and besides: don't you want to remember all the fireworks the next morning?
On a practical, physiological level, a study published in 2002 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggested that sleep apnea may also go hand-in-hand with low testosterone levels. While I can't say I've seen any studies on it, humans being what they are - and all having hormones - women with sleep problems likely also have problems with estrogen or progesterone levels.
- Weight problems - A study published in 2004 showed that people who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to be obese. Lack of sleep increases ghrelin, which tells your body you need to eat, and lowers leptin, which tells you when you've had enough.
- Depression - Folks, wasn't 2020 enough?? Let's give our bodies all the tools needed to keep joy in our lives! Lack of sleep makes us foggy-brained, it makes it hard to get things done, it makes it hard to make good decisions, it makes it hard to function, and when we are missing every mark we set for ourselves, we are going to have a hard time staying happy with our lives.
- Impaired judgement, especially about sleep! - I'm just going to copy a quote from this webmd page because it really does say it perfectly:
“Studies show that over time, people who are getting six hours of sleep, instead of seven or eight, begin to feel that they’ve adapted to that sleep deprivation -- they’ve gotten used to it,” sleep expert, Dr. Phil Gehrman says. “But if you look at how they actually do on tests of mental alertness and performance, they continue to go downhill. So there’s a point in sleep deprivation when we lose touch with how impaired we are.”
With that said, let's dive into some sleep tips to help you get your zzzz's... Take a look: