Monday, February 28, 2011

Sleep: laying the foundation

I'm on a sleep mission. To get others to sleep enough because sleep really is the foundation for so many other healthy habits and it's something that you don't have to think much about or stress over or remember to do . . . once you're doing it.

So here are borrowed snipits from studies and news reports on the importance of sleep:

You think you can cut on on less than 7 hours? Here's the Mayo Clinic on how much sleep your body NEEDS: 7-9 hours. If you get more or less, your ability to perform complex mental tasks is compromised and you fall into the statistical group known as: higher mortality rate. {Whenever my husband and I have a health related debate, it always comes down to checking either the Mayo Clinic or the Cleveland Clinic's web site for the official word on what's what.} Of course, I have to link to the Cleveland Clinic too since it's in my hometown. This paragraph pretty much sums it up:

"People suffering from sleep deprivation experience difficulty making decisions, irritability, problems with performance, and slower reaction times, placing them at risk for automobile and work-related accidents. Sleep loss can also adversely affect life by contributing to the development of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease." (This recent study maps the link between getting fewer than 6 hours of sleep and a higher incidence of a pre-diabetic state, known as incident-impaired fasting glycaemia).

And about that sleep/weight connection, Web MD cuts to the chase and tells us about the affect of little sleep on those important hunger hormones, grelin and leptin: "The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. “Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin,” Breus says. “Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.”

Also, if you don't get enough sleep, you can still lose weight, but it's less likely to be fat. See here. My favorite part of the article is this quote: "If your goal is to lose fat, skipping sleep is like poking sticks in your bicycle wheels," by Plamen Penev, MD, PhD.

What's more, sleep even makes you look more attractive; yup, that's right, beauty sleep is for real! A good night's sleep also helps with memory and creativity.

So how do we get more sleep? Think of how consistent we are with our children's sleep schedules and routines. Basically, that's what we need to do for ourselves too. Same time every night, same calming routine, same avoidance of sugary/caffeine stimulants late in the day.

After perusing all these links, I know you'll want to get your 7 1/2 - 8 hours. Those hours translate into better attitude, energy and beauty, fewer food cravings, and an increased ability to find your keys, remember and keep the obligations on your calendar, scrapbooking, craft-making brilliance, and so much more!

P.S. If you're a medical news junkie like me, just go to and type in whatever you're obsessing about that day. Good stuff.


  1. Wonderful! I love all the benefits of sleep! I was able to get 7 hours and 45 minutes of sleep in last night and still get up at 5am and run for an hour. That usually doesn't happen, but all this talk of sleep has inspired me! Thanks Apis. Sleep really is the secret to success!

  2. Thanks for this amazing post and great links. Some of it will help a post I've been working on about liver function and fasting glycaemia. One of the great reasons to sleep is that you stop eating which is really important to many of the organs on your body.

  3. Great post! It really got me thinking about one of my food triggers. When I am tired all I want to do is snack and on all the wrong foods too. It's fun to read the science behind it all. Thanks for the post.

  4. Excellent info Apis, thanks for researching and writing this post. I appreciate all the great links to more info. My sleep problem is persuading my body to fall asleep and stay asleep. That can be a problem at a certain age. Last night I was asleep by 11:30 pm and then I woke up at 4:55 am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep. Today and tomorrow I will be very much sleep deprived. Good news is, I'll use it as an excuse for my bad memory and lack of creativity.