Having a hectic schedule makes it hard to make time for eight full hours of sleep each night, but it may be more important than you realize. While it may seem more advantageous to get more done in the short term, long term effects outweigh these benefits.
Here are a few things that should motivate you to make enough time for sleep.
Studies have shown that both sleeping too few hours a night and too many hours a night can lead to increased risk of death. In one study, women who slept too few hours had a 21% risk increase and women who slept too many had a 17% increase. The same pattern occurred in men, who had a 21% risk of death increase with too few hours of sleep and a 24% increase with too many, according to About dot com.
Another interesting finding in this study was that using sleep medication also increased risk of death, even when the patient slept the proper number of hours. Women’s risk of death increased 39% because of sleep medication while men’s increased 31%. In this study, less than 7 hours of sleep a night was considered too few and more than 8 was considered too much. Your body is at its healthiest when you are averaging 8 hours of sleep a night.
It used to be thought that people with chronic pain simply couldn’t sleep because of the pain. Now, however, studies have shown that lack of sleep can cause pain. Most people who were deprived of sleep experienced joint and muscle pain after two weeks, and many experienced it after just one night.
This is a particular problem in people with fibromyalgia because the hypothalamus, or sleep center, is usually suppressed with this disease. Unfortunately, many sleep medications can’t help these people. Many of the sleeping pills on the market today keep the patient in stage 2 sleep, which is unfortunate because most of the benefits of sleep come from deep sleep and REM.
There are some exceptions though, so the important thing is choosing the right medication. If you experience aches and pains during the day, try getting a full eight hours of sleep each night and see if it helps.
In today’s fast paced world, we all need just a bit more energy. Everyone knows not getting enough sleep causes fatigue, but too much sleep can take away your energy too. This goes to show that catching up with sleep on the weekends is ineffective, because you are just going from too little sleep to too much. So the moral of the story is get eight full hours of sleep and improve your quality of life.