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Wellness: Let’s Face It; I’m Tired!

Original post ubabenefits.com

How does a muffler salesperson feel at the end of the day? Exhausted. HR Elements has tackled the issue of sleep deprivation before. However, that article was about how electronic devices were keeping people awake and the need to feel connected 24/7. This time, it’s about the effects of being sleep deprived and why it’s so important to get the recommended eight hours each night.

Have you noticed a recurring theme that we wish we had more time? In our quest to squeeze more out of the day, we often push sleep aside and humorously tell our friends and coworkers, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” The irony in that statement is that by not getting enough sleep, you may be doing enough damage to your body that death will come sooner rather than later.

According to an article on The Huffington Post’s website titled, “This Is Your Body on Sleep Deprivation,” if you can’t remember the last time you got a full night’s rest, or if you’re drowsy and have difficulty staying alert all day, then you’re definitely sleep deprived. Worse, according to the article, is that we tend to think that by sleeping longer on the weekend we can fix the issue. So what if we only get six hours of sleep each night during the week; we can sleep for 13 hours each night on the weekend and still get the necessary 56 hours a week (8 hours x 7 days = 56). The problem is that our bodies don’t work that way. Sleeping varying hours affects our circadian rhythms, which means that our bodies don’t know when to shut down.

So? “How bad can sleep deprivation be?” you might ask. Let’s start with how it affects the brain. When a person is sleep deprived, the brain slows way down. It becomes difficult to concentrate and the ability to make important decisions and sort information is reduced. Creativity is also negatively affected and people who need more sleep have memory issues. Your mood also takes a hit. If you’ve ever dealt with someone who is grouchy, irritable, or lacks enthusiasm, then that person probably didn’t get enough sleep.

If those undesirables aren’t enough to make you sleep more, let’s see how the body is affected. According to the article, your appetite suffers, and not the way you may be thinking. When you don’t get enough sleep it creates a hormonal imbalance, and the body tries to compensate by making you eat more, especially high-carbohydrate, sugary foods. That’s not good. But you think you can just run or bike more miles at the gym. Wrong again. Your body’s performance, reflexes and motor skills are all impaired. The latter can cause improper form, so everything from yoga to running to weightlifting will be less effective. Finally, the body’s immune system is affected, but not right away. Pulling an all-nighter probably won’t be too bad, but night after night of not getting enough sleep will almost definitely increase your chances of getting sick.

In the end, like it or not, you need to devote at least eight hours each night to sleep. Something else will have to get cut if you want to be at peak performance throughout the entire day. The article suggests that a person should add 15 minutes every night to their sleep schedule until they can go a whole day without feeling tired. You just may be surprised at what you can accomplish when you’re actually awake and not just going through the motions.