Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sleep and Lack of It

I was supposed to get up this morning and workout with Wendy... She is my reliable "yes, Bethany, I will meet you at 5:00am" workout buddy. Unfortunately, I was so wound up last night that it took me a while to fall asleep. I have a rule about morning workouts: If I have a headache when my alarm goes off, go back to sleep.

I learned this the hard way. In highschool, I would pull all nighters all the time. In college, I would stay up late, get up super early, and then drink a ton of caffeine to compensate for my exhaustion. As I have learned and studied more about preventative medicine, I have learned the importance of sleep. Not only does it keep me from snapping at my husband, but it strengthens my immune system. Think about it, your cells get repaired at night time. If you do not allow yourself to sleep, your cells are not fully repairing.

More Benefits:
  • When you feel worn down, your immune system is compromised. There are links between colds/flu and lack of sleep. Wash your hands and get some shut eye!!!
  • When you are sleep deprived, your body is in a state of inflammation... just like hypertension. When you add the caffeine that we drink to keep ourselves awake, we are really putting our cardiovascular system under a lot of pressure.... no pun intended. I am such a cheese ball.
  • One of the reasons people develop diabetes type two is because their body becomes resistant to insulin.... In other words, it takes more work to regulate their blood sugar. When we are sleep deprived, our bodies go into a temporary state of insulin resistance. Proper sleep and weight training are GREAT tools to increase our body's sensitivity to insulin (meaning, it makes our blood sugar regulation process more EFFICIENT).
  • People who are sleep deprived have the same driving skills as someone who is drunk... This explains a lot. Please, get your sleep.... for the sake of everyone on the road.
  • There are also links between obesity and lack of sleep. No one knows for sure why this is, but there is evidence that it is a hormone thing.... great, don't you love it when the doctor blames it on "hormones." Apparently, we have a reduced amount of leptin (controls hunger and keeps that beast of an appetite at bay) in our bodies when we are sleep deprived. People also tend to mindlessly eat in front of the TV at night. If you get to bed early, you skip the munchies!!!
So, all that to say, get some ZZZZZZs. That may mean you do not watch your favorite TV show, or you skip that afternoon cup of JO. I wrote this for myself as well. I think I needed the reminder. Have a great day. I am going to go get a cup of coffee water =)


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