Doing nothing is a good thing. Sleep is the most underrated activity (or inactivity if you will) that can improve your health & wellness and feed your soul.  Such a curious thing though… what happens in sleep and why in the world would we need to spend 1/3 of our life in a nocturnal state?

Many in the past have tried to forego sleep only to abandon these plans due to detrimental effects.  One interesting example occurred in 1959; a DJ named Peter Tripp set off to raise money for a children foundation. He sat for over 200 hours in a makeshift glass DJ booth in Times Square. Half way through he couldn’t recall the alphabet or do simple mat problems. Towards the end he hallucinated, thinking spiders were in his shoes and mice and kittens were walking around him. His declining mood was evident when he began cursing the audience.

o    Studies have found that poor sleep strongly impairs functioning, alters your mood, worsens memory and cognitive functions. 

o    One study found that 90% of those with depression report sleep problems.

o    An interesting study found that lack of sleep had similar effects as alcohol intoxication.

Sleep deprivation increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. It disrupts your metabolism, hormonal regulation, and your immune system, and it increases inflammation.  Your health spinning out of control.  

Inadequate sleep can increase your risk for obesity. Yes, people who don’t get enough sleep are far more likely to be overweight. It is believed that this is related to numerous hormones being secreted during sleep that effect our metabolism. A recent meta-analysis found that those who were sleep-deprived were much more likely to be overweight.……and those who don’t get adequate sleep have decreased levels of leptin (a hormone that decreases appetite) and elevated levels ghrelin (a hormone that increases appetite). Those with poor sleep crave high calorie food as well as those dreaded carbs… Get that extra hour or two of sleep and that slice of pizza or bowel of cereal won’t look so tantalizing.  Bottom line, fill your belly with a full night’s sleep. 

Sleep can also improve athletic performance and fitness. Micro-damage accumulated during exercise is repaired during the night. So if your doing a lot of yoga or spinning, treat yourself to some delicious zzzs.

Without trying to sound vain, there is some truth to beauty sleep. One study found that those who are sleep-deprived looked “sadder” and “tired”, which sounds like the body's outward expression of an unhealthy state. What we gather from these examples and studies is not the detrimental effects of poor sleep but the POSITIVE effects of a good night’s sleep. Don’t deprive yourself. A lot is going on when you're crashed out.  You’re doing yourself and your loved ones a good thing.… AND IT’S FREE!! 


Look for future blogs to cover ways improve sleep (hint Hot yoga anyone?)