Most of us know how important sleep is, but yet people still don’t sleep enough. Did you know that an adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, on a consistent basis? Even one night sleeping less than 7 hours will have an impact on your health. Lost sleep can never be made up. Sleeping-in on weekends doesn’t “catch-up” on lost sleep during the week.
Something that articles don’t always mention is the time of night that we should sleep. I remember my mom telling me that the hours you slept before midnight were important, but I never knew why until a few years ago when I started reading more on the subject.
It turns out that every living thing (humans, animals, plants, fungi and even bacteria) has a 24-hour schedule, it’s called the circadian rhythm and is affected by light (for helpful tips on sleeping and how it’s affected by light, check out my previous article on the subject). This schedule dictates when certain functions happen, and so in the human body, that means that certain organs perform at their highest capacity during certain time, namely at night. For that reason, it is important to be asleep during that time, in order to put less stress on our body and to allow these important organs (like liver, pancreas and kidneys to name a few) to perform at their best. This is why it is important to be asleep by 11 pm. The bulk of the work for our organs is between 11 pm and 1 am.
On top of reducing our risks of various illnesses, cancers, improving our mental capacities (like our memory) and our ability to heal, helping us lose weight and reducing our stress, did you know that sleeping 7-9 hours per night and sleeping at 11 pm also helps your skin?
“Sleep deprivation and stress go hand-in-hand, and we heal in our sleep,” explains Dr. Wechsler. When we skip out on the recommended seven to eight hours of rest, this can manifest in embarrassing skin problems. Between the hours of 11pm and 4am, our skin is repairing and restoring damaged cells, according to Dr. Wechsler.
watch the video in this article (I don’t know how to embed it in my post. I’m not technology-savvy)
Apparently, teens need between 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep per night, and not getting enough sleep can also affect their choices of food (i.e. eating more junk). I bet it does the same for adults! 😉
I found a few interesting infographics online, read them below!
Ways to help get enough sleep
Have a regular sleep routine. By going to bed and getting up around the same time every day makes it easier for your body to fall asleep more easily. This might take some time at first but gradually, your body will get used to it.
Make sure you sleep in a dark room, and don’t use electronics too close to bedtime. Ever noticed how the sun goes down gradually and not all at once? This helps to stimulate melatonin production and fall asleep more easily.
For more tips, read Trouble sleeping at night? easy tips to help
(Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/sleep-deprived-teens-unhealthy-food-_n_3480399.html, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/sleep-better-skin-tips_n_3497213.html?ir=Healthy%20Living, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/05/5-reasons-why-men-need-beauty-sleep-too_n_1321402.html, http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.htm, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/02/02/lost-sleep-can-never-be-made-up.aspx)
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Wow!! A lot of information about sleep… and I have to be honest, I had no idea how serious some of the health implications could be because of not enough sleep!
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one! That’s why I’m talking about it. It’s very important! Establishing a regular routine really is the key.
Sweet dreams! 🙂