13 Oct 2016 Are You Getting Enough?
It’s a huge problem. According to the BBC, scientists from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Manchester University warn cutting sleep can lead to serious health problems. When they state ‘serious’ we are talking cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, infections and obesity. So, it is a major problem for society.
According to this report, we are sleeping up to 2 hours less a night than we were 60 years ago. Our 24-hour lifestyles, with the ability to stream TV whenever you want via Netflix and Amazon means that our sleep and awake lines have become blurred. Our ancestors led very different lives, where they were active in the day and rested at night. They were in tune with their internal body clocks and lived in a light-dark cycle. What we are trying to do now is literally override our body clocks and dismiss our four billion years of evolution.
Acting against this natural process is going to lead to problems. We are again out of balance. When we are out of balance in our physical bodies, we can experience physical pain. When we are out of balance in our diets, we gain weight or become ill. This is no different. One of the body’s natural systems is feeling threatened and that’s going to lead to issues.
The body clock influences every biological process in the body. So what can we do to bring it back in line? I believe it needs to be prioritised just like our exercise and diet. It’s whole body health. Find a bedtime that works and stick to it. I’ve been guilty on occasion of staying up much later than I normally would due to wanting to finish a box set of some show I’ve downloaded. But I always pay the price the following day. I feel sluggish, slow, often with a headache and desperate for an afternoon sleep. Not a very productive day for an episode of House of Cards or Breaking Bad! I didn’t prioritise. Now one night may just about be ok but imagine if I did that for three or four nights in a row?
Talking of box sets, another thing I strongly discourage is the use of tablets or smartphones in bed. The blue light emitted by these devices disrupt the body clock and delay the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. So not only we stay up late to watch TV, we then have trouble sleeping afterwards.
Let’s reset our priorities – let’s make it cool to sleep 7 to 8 hours. Let’s be the smart ones who know that by sleeping our right hours we are not only going to look and feel great, we are protecting our bodies from a whole host of unnecessary and avoidable health problems.
Good night. Zzzzzzzzzzz