These days, we’re all trying to cram as much as we possibly can into a day. We overbook, overextend and overcommit. And, in the quest for being a productive human, we sacrifice our sleep. But what we don’t realize is we’re not just sacrificing our sleep time, but our health and that productivity we’re striving for goes out the window. Our need for ZZZ’s is directly tied to our physical health and mental well being and when we don’t get enough, things will inevitably start to fall apart.
Our brains and bodies need sleep to recharge and renew cell function. Your brain is actually creating new pathways while you sleep to help you learn and remember information. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you may experience things like mood changes, forgetfulness, clumsiness, lower reaction time, not being able to focus, memory problems, depression, a weakened immune system, overeating and weight gain and a higher risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, not to mention the dark circles under your eyes, skin laxity and a dull, tired appearance.
The need for sleep is even greater in babies, young kids and teens because sleep supports their growth, muscle development, their ability to focus, their mood, and how they learn. To say sleep is important is an understatement.
Making your bed time and awakening time the same every day will help keep you in a good pattern of sleep behavior. Late night weekends can disrupt your whole week and put you in “sleep debt.” Yes, there is a thing such as sleep debt and your body is going to want you to pay it back.
While every person is different, generally adults really do need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night and the younger you are, the more hours of sleep you need. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, teens need around 8-10 hours a night, pre-teens need between 9-12 hours a day, ages 3-5 are 10-13 hours a day, ages 1-2 need 11-14 hours a day (including naps) and babies need 12-16 hours, including naps.
More talent and tech are being dedicated to curing sleep deprivation. From wearables that track sleep to blue light-blocking glasses to mood-enhancing light bulbs and sleep coaches, products and people that help you wind down and wake up are flooding the market. Sleep is your biggest beauty and anti-aging weapon as well.
So turn off the TV, put down the phone an hour before bed, take a long warm bath filled with relaxing scents and curl up for the restoration your body needs and deserves. You will be your best self when you get all the ZZZ’s you need.