“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together”—Thomas Dekker
Do We Need To Sleep?
How many of us skimp on the recommended hours of sleep every night—7-8 hours?
Sleeping, for many, may seem as the ultimate form of inactivity or lack of productivity. Latest health news states that for good overall health we need adequate sleep as much as we need a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
The American Health Association reports that only 5-10% of adults meet ideal standards in diet, physical activity and tobacco use.
If we fall into the “ideal” 5-10%, then our risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other related morbidities may potentially be reduced—however when it comes to sleep there is still a lot of research to be done which leaves us battling with the question—Do we really need to sleep?
The very short answer is YES!
Sleep and Work Productivity
Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini is on a mission to create a culture that encourages workers to get more sleep and in turn increase work productivity. Bertolini started a program last year to encourage Aetna employees to get more sleep and earn extra money. “Sleep is very important.
You can't be prepared if you are half-asleep. If employees can prove they get 20 nights of sleep for seven hours or more in a row, we will give them $25 a night, up $500 a year," he said, explaining Aetna uses various ways to help workers keep track, including the use of fitness trackers.
Bertolini has the numbers to back-up his assertion that better sleep can lead to bigger profits.
Scientific research tells us that sleep does not serve just a single purpose. Robert Stickgold—Director of the Center for Sleep and Cognition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center—states that sleep is needed for the optimal functioning of a multitude of biological processes—from the inner workings of the immune system to proper hormonal balance, emotional and psychiatric health, learning and memory and the clearance of toxins from the brain.
Sleep enhances the performance of these systems.
Sleep and Overall Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about a third of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep a night and more than a third of adults in the US are obese. Obesity and sleep restriction have become extremely common because sleep loss alters our metabolic functions.
Loss of sleep reduces levels of leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite, and increases levels of ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone—a combination that can encourage eating.
Next- A recent 2016 study published in Sleep
About the author
Cecilia DeMatteo, MS, is currently a freelance writer in the field of health and nutrition with publication in a recurring column, independent articles and book outlines. In the number of years spent in this field, Cecilia’s focus has been primarily on individual lifestyle habits and how they impact human health. Her writing provides readers insight into adapting preventative measures to reduce modifiable risk factors that contribute to the cause of today’s chronic conditions. Through her timely and related articles, her audience acquires a greater knowledge in the latest evidence-based scientific research in overall health. Cecilia DeMatteo, MS, is the former Co-Founder of Enhanced Health Coaching (EHC) in Scarsdale, NY. EHC’s commitment was to provide personalized strategies for both corporate and individuals seeking to optimize cardiovascular health. Cecilia holds a Master’s of Science in Nutrition and a BBA in Finance.Website