20 Mar 2014

No Sleep’s Not Cheap: 7 Powerful Reasons to Get Your ZZZZ’s

ClockWe all know that lack of sleep makes you cranky and bitchy. And if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know it makes you fat. And that I’m a sleep fanatic.

What you may not know is all the OTHER less-well-known reasons you need to be sleeping 7-8 hours a night. Let’s take a look:

1.      Lack of sleep makes you dumb. Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep interrupts these processes. First, it impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently.

Second, during the night, various sleep cycles play a role in “consolidating” memories in the mind. If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to remember what you learned and experienced during the day. I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get in this department!

2.      Your sex drive goes down the drain. Sleep-deprived men and women report lower libidos and less interest in sex. Depleted energy, sleepiness, and amped-up crankiness may be largely to blame.

3.      It’s depressing. Over time, lack of sleep and sleep disorders can contribute to the symptoms of depression. In one survey, people who were diagnosed with depression or anxiety were more likely to sleep less than six hours at night.

The most common sleep disorder, insomnia, has the strongest link to depression. In fact, insomnia is often one of the first symptoms of depression. Insomnia and depression feed on each other. Sleep loss often aggravates the symptoms of depression, and depression can make it more difficult to fall asleep. On the positive side, treating sleep problems can help depression and its symptoms, and vice versa.

4.      It makes you look old. Most people have experienced eye bags after a few nights of missed sleep. But, chronic sleep loss can lead to dull skin, fine lines, and dark circles under the eyes.  No thanks!

Cortisol is a player when it comes to skin too. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.

5.      Your brain turns to mush. Brain events called “sharp wave ripples” are responsible for consolidating memory. The ripples also transfer learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex of the brain, where long-term memories are stored. Sharp wave ripples occur mostly during the deepest levels of sleep.

6.      It can kill you before your time. British researchers looked at how sleep patterns affected the mortality of more than 10,000 British civil servants over two decades. The results, published in 2007, showed that those who had cut their sleep from seven to five hours or fewer a night nearly doubled their risk of death from all causes. In particular, lack of sleep doubled the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

And cardiovascular disease is the number 1 killer of post-menopausal women.

7.      Your judgment suffers (especially when it comes to sleep!) Lack of sleep can affect our interpretation of events. This hurts our ability to make good judgments because we may not assess situations accurately.

Sleep-deprived people seem to be especially prone to poor judgment when it comes to assessing what lack of sleep is doing to them.

In our society, functioning on less than no sleep has become a kind of badge of honor.

You may think you’re doing fine, but the odds are high that you’re wrong.  And if you work in a profession where it’s important to be able to judge your level of functioning, this can be a big problem.

When I’m working with clients (especially those with adrenal fatigue), sleep is the first place we start when it comes to lifestyle changes. This is THE number one thing you can change that will make a big difference in your mental and physical health…quickly.


About Dr. Anna

Dr. Anna Garrett is a pharmacist and menopause expert who helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. But her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim pieces of themselves they thought were gone forever.

Dr. Anna offers a complimentary 30-minute Get Acquainted Call to anyone who’d like to learn more about working 1-1 with her. You can schedule that at your convenience by clicking here.

Please email info@drannagarrett.com for more info.

Dr. Anna Garrett


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