If you’re a reader of my articles, you might think the “This” I’m referring to is my favorite supplement — exercise. While that’s true, this time, let’s focus on that other foundation of health: sleep.
A recent study added to the evidence that inadequate or disrupted sleep induces metabolic changes in the body that can lead to diabetes and weight gain. These changes occurred with sleep at about five and a half hours per night. Shift work aggravates the problem, with the disruption in circadian rhythm (our body’s daily biological clock) making sleep even more difficult.
As the weather gets hot, falling asleep might get harder — but there are ways to deal with that. A lack of optimal amount of sleep can lead not only to obesity and diabetes, but also may aggravate high blood pressure, and even raise the risk of certain types of cancer. Not to mention the fact that this is probably the most common cause of fatigue — and the first thing to address before we go reaching for “energy drinks,” supplements, etc.
How much sleep should we get? Between 7 and 9 hours per night is what most research indicates. If you think you’re too busy to get that amount, reassess your activities during the day: If you’re staying up to have time to watch TV or surf the web, reconsider your priorities in light of the very real negative health effects.