Today I’m going to talk about something that I am in dire need of this week. Sleep. I have had a few very early mornings (4:30am!), which has resulted in me being able to only pull about 4-5 hours of sleep at night. I know what you are thinking, “Why did you go to bed so late?” Well, as much as I planned to turn into bed early the nights before my early rise, it was not as easy as I expected. I tried. I laid there, rolled around, read, tried to calm my racing mind, and also tried to ease the anxiety I had about getting up so early. I immediately had visions of my alarm not going off or sleeping through it and not being able to get where I needed to be in time. So, therefore, I was left with a sleep-deprived night.
Now, this may be okay to do occasionally, but lack of sleep should not become a regular part of your routine. In fact, not getting enough sleep at night can actually do a great deal of harm to your body, health, and brain functionality.
First off, if you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, being sleep deprived will not help you. Studies have shown that people eat, on average, about 300 more calories per day when they are tired. I can definitely attest to this. I’ve spoken before about my compulsive snacking when I’m tired. Not getting enough sleep also puts stress on your body, making your metabolism slow down and your body store fat. Combine this with the extra calories that are eaten and weight gain is often the result.
Another bummer of not getting enough sleep is that it may affect your neurological system. Researchers have also found that people who fight insomnia have less dense brains, which affects areas required for decision making and memory. If you find yourself forgetting a lot, you may just need more sleep!
As if weight gain and a smaller brain weren’t reason enough to get some shut eye, other consequences include raised blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and the inability to cope with emotions (i.e. severe crankiness).
For more information you can check out a write up that Fit Sugar did on the topic. In the meantime, make sure to get some sleep!
*Just as a side note, napping counts! Just a short, quick, nap (15 mins) can boost your memory, help you learn, and increase your creativity! Tell your boss that next time they catch you sleeping at your desk 😉