What are some things you notice the day after a lousy night of sleep? You probably have low energy, it might be hard to focus, and all you can think about is when you might be able to sneak in a nap. Does that sound familiar? Sleep is more than about getting enough shut eye so you can be energetic the next day; it affects your overall health, likely in more ways than you realized.
Dreaming isn’t the only thing that happens while we sleep, our bodies are hard at work regulating hormones, detoxifying the brain, regulating blood pressure and body temperature, to name a few. It’s all part of a complex, yet perfectly timed 24-hour cycle called the circadian rhythm. For example, cortisol and blood pressure both increase at around 6am to begin preparing your body to wake up. The hormone that stimulates appetite (ghrelin) decreases at night and the hormone that suppresses appetite (leptin) increases at night, therefore playing a role in weight maintenance. When we have disruptive sleep, don’t get enough sleep, or for 3rd shift workers who aren’t able to sleep in synchronization with day/night, our physiological and behavior patterns can be negatively affected leading to a multitude of issues. Some of these can include impaired decision-making skills to decreased insulin sensitivity to increase risk of developing chronic disease. The CDC states that 35% of U.S. adults are not getting the recommended 7 hours of sleep each night. That’s over 1/3 of our population. Let’s start making a shift to making sleep a priority! The infographic above shows how insufficient or poor quality sleep can negatively impact you and provides a few basic tips on how to get the quality sleep you need for optimal health.
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About the author:
Stephanie Pichan is the Health and Wellness Coordinator at Whitaker LaChance Agency in Portage, Michigan. She’s a graduate of the Community Health Education program at Western Michigan University where she worked on an innovative team for 10 years developing health technology behavior-change interventions. She has a specific interest in the area of holistic health and believes in the healing power of food and its role in disease prevention. Although she strives to get at least 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, she believes it’s important to indulge from time to time; ice cream is usually the winner. Whether through work, volunteering, or every day connections, she’s passionate about helping others live their best life possible. Stephanie is developing the health and wellness area at Whitaker LaChance and using her creativity to contribute to the vision of the marketing team. She’s excited to be an integral part of helping the agency grow and expand.