How often do you find yourself waking up more tired than when you went to bed? What about falling asleep in the middle of class, or nodding off while at work? Maybe the answer isn’t energy shots or more cups of coffee. The solution lies in how much sleep you are logging each night.
If you ask any professional athlete what is the best thing they can do for their body, they’ll tell you it’s all about getting more sleep at night. It’s when you sleep that your muscles are repaired and your stress levels go down. Getting a good night’s rest is absolutely essential to having a productive day. The quality of your sleep can determine how well your body functions, your mood and your capacity to process and retain information. Sounds like things we want working properly each day, right?
Not getting enough sleep can throw off your body’s equilibrium. According to Cheri Mah, M.S., a Stanford University sleep researcher, within one to two weeks of improper sleep you will experience higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which will keep your heart rate higher than normal and your nervous system on constant alert. During deep sleep, your body releases human growth hormone, which repairs muscles and bones. If you don’t get enough shut eye at night, you risk missing that deep sleep portion and you’ll wake up just as stiff, jittery and achy as when you went to bed. It’s almost as if you’ve just wasted those short five hours of sleep you squeezed in before you went to tackle another long day. So, what’s the remedy?
The answer is simple actually: get more sleep! While the exact amount of sleep varies from one person to the other, the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep, according to Matthew Edlund, M.D., director of the Center for Circadian Medicine in Sarasota, Florida, and author of The Power of Rest. The National Sleep Foundation states that “it's important to pay attention to your own individual needs by assessing how you feel on different amounts of sleep.”
Our advice is this: Try and keep the amount of sleep you get at a healthy and consistent number each night. Think of sleep like a bank account. Whatever you put in is what you’ll get out. If you slept for 5 hours last night, it’s highly likely you won’t have much energy during the day, compared to if you had slept for 7-8 hours.
There are always key signs that you are or are not getting enough sleep. Think about your mood, your motivation, your ability to carry out tasks. If you find yourself in a good mood, easily motivated and find going about your day relatively easy, sounds like you had a good night’s rest! If you find it to be the opposite, it looks like you need to get some more sleep tonight. Happy sleeping!
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