Many of us routinely are not getting adequate quality amounts of sleep – whether it’s because of social obligations, familial obligations, or work obligations. Or maybe scrolling through Instagram in bed when it’s time to hit the hay and 90 minutes later you’re still up!
No matter the reason you’re not sleeping enough, it’s important to know that quantity and quality of sleep are worth the investment in your health. Here’s some info to drive the point home for you:
Research on Indigenous People
A study on indigenous people shows that these populations have a shorter duration of sleep, however the story is different when you consider the full extent from sleep onset to offset (start to finish) of when they were laying in bed with their eyes closed.
The reality is there is some time it takes everyone to reach the clinical definition of sleep, and there are times throughout the night people may awake as well. Looking at the study’s findings for sleep duration from onset to offset, indigenous people still average between 6.9-8.5 hours, which is right in line with the typical recommendation of 7-9 hours we typically hear today. The idea here is that even without the modern existential crises we are confronted with on a daily basis, nor the poor standard American (Western) diet that many of us have today, the natural ‘bedtime’ duration was still in the 7-9 hour range.
The point being, your body naturally expects you to carve out 7-9 hours of sleep time, and this goes beyond whether you can work to mitigate the chronic stress (mental or physical) we’re confronted with in modern society today.
Effects of Sleep on Hormones
We now know that sleep restriction detrimentally affects men testosterone levels, which is especially not good for men. Testosterone is an extremely important sex hormone, and though it’s an indication of male capacity for sexual activity, it’s also closely tied to overall health. When a man’s testosterone levels are low, especially when it’s due to a chronic condition, it’s a sign of larger health issues that should be addressed. So, if you’re a man, it’s definitely important to get the sleep you need, not only for your sex life but also for your overall health. Though that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook if you’re female: there are similar hormonal consequences for women as well.
Effects of Sleep on Overall Health
Inadequate amounts of sleep are related to increased risk of diabetes and increased risk of obesity. Sleep is important because it allows your body a substantial amount of time each day to recharge, rejuvenate and recover from the energy expenditure and various stressors you encountered throughout the day. Some of these stressors can include the quality and quantity of the foods you eat. But when you don’t sleep long enough or even well enough, the body’s ability to bounce back from a poor diet is hindered.
Effects of Sleep on Finances
Believe it or not, there’s even a financial benefit from getting more sleep. Even though it would seem obvious that we would be more alert and focused from getting quality amounts of sleep, people still have the feeling they have to miss out on sleep in order to work hard and succeed. On the contrary, this study found a 16% increase in wages associated with a one-hour increase in average sleep time. How about that: a direct financial return on investment (ROI) from an investment in your sleep.
Ultimately, sleep should be viewed as a necessity and requirement, not as an optional activity to participate in. Sleep is so important that without it for more than a day or two, we start to hallucinate, have elevated blood sugar levels, and our bodies will look for any and every chance for us to close our eyes. Ultimately sleep is worth the investment in your health. You’ll be able to function better physically and cognitively so make sure to get it!
Since childhood, Garrett Hagen has been motivated toward optimizing athletic performance, health, and physique. He began experimenting with vertical leap and sport-specific training protocols at a young age. His passion grew for the effectiveness of research-based training programs as life-changing results were realized in working with athletes and trainers alike. With his Master of Science degree and experience in high level athletics, he is able to meaningfully impact everyone he meets, whether it is helping them lose weight, feel better, or erase chronic pain.