Could Skipping Out on Sleep Be the New Smoking?

Posted by Amina AlTai on

Okay. Real talk time.  We’ve all had to pull the occasional all-nighter, whether it’s to finish up work, take care of your children or play a video game ( I know who you are!!) In my twenties, I co-founded a marketing agency, and there were a few times where I slept in the office because I thought “I didn’t have time to go home.” So, instead of wasting 1.5 hours on commuting, I would stay at the office all night, sleep for 1.5 hours and then get back to business.

I can’t stress enough how terrible this is for your body. My lack of sleep and incredible amounts of stress were big contributors my worsening autoimmune conditions. What's more, studies have demonstrated that keeping your body awake for just 17 to 19 hours straight impacts performance more than a blood-alcohol level of .1 percent* (the legal limit in most Western European countries). This seemingly innocuous level of sleep deprivation slows a person’s reaction time down by 50 percent compared to a person who is well-rested.  So, if you’re driving your children around, or attempting to deliver a killer presentation, just keep in mind that you’re basically performing drunk.

So, what is the optimal amount of sleep?

It’s not the 8 hours the old adage would make you think. Though every body is different and needs varying levels of sleep and self-care Daniel Kripke, arguably the world’s most accomplished sleep researcher, says people that get between 6.5 and 7.5 hours of sleep per night are the happiest and most productive, and they live the longest. When we sleep, our body is focused on much-needed repair work. It’s the key to feeling energized, looking younger, staying slimmer and having a better functioning brain. On the flip side, too much sleep (anything in excess of eight hours per night) is actually correlated with significantly higher mortality rates.  Though, the research does point to lifestyle factors as contributors. So when it comes to sleep, balance is everything.  

Can we make up for lost sleep?

Many of my clients suffer from imbalanced sleep—they’ll get roughly 4-5 hours per week night and then attempt to “catch up” on the weekends. But, can we actually make up lost sleep?  A recent sleep study found that sleepiness, inflammation and stress hormones all returned to normal after weekend recovery sleep. However, measurements on performance tests that assessed participants ability to pay attention, significantly deteriorated after sleep deprivation and didn’t improve after recovery sleep. That is to suggest, weekday sleep debt can’t be recouped over just one weekend.

So what’s a busy professional to do in order to get the healthy amount of shut-eye?

  • Turn off all phones, computers, TVs, etc. an hour before bed. The blue light emitted from them tricks our brain into believing it’s time to be awake.
  • Keep your temperature between 65 and 69 degrees, as this is optimal for a sound slumber. Studies suggest that is where our bodies find the best sleep. Rachel Salas, MD, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University who specializes in sleep medicine, cites a National Sleep Foundation study that puts the magic number at 65 degrees. But this largely depends on your body and resting metabolic rate, so test temperatures in this range.
  • Cut out cured meats and cheese before bed. They trigger the release of norepinephrine which can make us feel alert and wired.
  • Try a few relaxing yoga poses such as corpse pose, relaxing hero pose or legs up the wall pose.
  • Enlist a professional. Acupuncture is proven to provide relief to insomniacs. If you’re in NYC, check out my dear friend and DAOM, Dr. Sarah Emily Sajdak.
  • Supplement! Melatonin, kava kava, Gabba and valerian root can also help to provide relief from sleepless nights. Don’t self-medicate though: Share your concerns with your doctor or healthcare professional for recommendations that are safest for you.
  • Set healthy boundaries. My clients who usually have to pull the all-nighters are often the ones who raise their hands first to volunteer for extra work.  While we know we might have to occasionally accommodate work at off hours, always self-sacrificing to “prove” yourself will only make you ill.  Set promises to yourself about what you’re willing to do and what you’re not.  If cutting into sleep consistently is on that list, make sure you have the necessary conversations to set you up for success in that way. 
  • Meditate or do some breathing. Another biggie with my insomniac clients is unmanaged stress.  They come home late and their minds are racing going through the day and all that took place.  When you’re trying to fall asleep it’s important to try and get out of your head and into your body.  A short meditation or breathing exercise like the 4-7-8 breath is a great place to start.  

 

healthy sleep healthy tips how many hours should you sleep mental health sleep work wellness

← Older Post Newer Post →

News

RSS
Tags
2017 resolutions adaptogens adrenal fatigue alcohol Alkalizing foods Almond Butter Cups amina altai Asana asking for a raise athleisure Bibliotherapy biscuits blueberry cheesecake bars Brooklyn Burnout Business Travel caffeine caffeine withdrawal chakras cheddarbiscuits chocolate clean eating clean lunches cleanse cleanse your mind coconut sugar Coffee colon healthy colon hydrotherapy colonic complete protein veggie burger Consciousness cooking class dessert Detox diet dining out Dry January Dry-Uary eating mindfully Emotional Energy Clearing face oils family stress first trimester fitness fitness plan Food allergies foods for hypothyroidism gastrointestinal health Gluten Free gluten free snacks glutenfree goal setting golden milk golden milk chai grain free grain free paella guide to sleep Gut health gut healthy health healthy Healthy Alcoholic Drinks healthy breakfast recipes Healthy Cocktails Healthy Dessert healthy dinners Healthy Drinks healthy eating healthy eggnog healthy gut healthy living healthy lunches healthy recipe Healthy Restaurants healthy sleep Healthy Snack healthy snacks healthy tips healthy travel snacks healthy weddings healthy work environment heart wall high protein veggie burger Holiday detox holiday eating holiday recipes homemade how many hours should you sleep how to set resolutions hygge hypothyroid hypothyroidism ice cream Inflammation interview Is coffee bad jump rope workout Kombucha lemon detox water lemon water liver cleanse living mindfully low glycemic snacks Low Sugar Cocktails low-sugar lunches mango popicles marathon mason jars meal prep meal tips meditate at work Meditation Mental Health mercury exposure mercury poisoning microbiome mindful mocktails monotasking mushrooms mycotoxins myths and facts cleansing new years resolutions Nutrition paella paella recipe paleo lunches passionate work Peanut Butter Cup Ph levels Physiology popsicles Positivity pregnancy pregnancy health productivity professional inspiration protein balls protein bars PTO q+a quitting sugar raw dessert raw milk Reading Reading List recipe Running salad jars scones seafood seasonal eating Self Care self-care shopping on budget sickness prevention skincare sleep sleeping tips snack Specific Carbohydrate Diet spring cleanse spring cleanse series stevia strawberryscones stress stress management sugar sugar-free summer shape up sunscreen sunscreen tips Travel travel snacks Travel Well travel wellness travel workout traveling turmeric turmeric latte unity valentine's day vegan vegan dessert vegan eggnog vegan icecream vegan paella veggie burger vibrations wedding season Wellness Wellness Bloggers Wellness Books wellness hacks wellness travel wellness trends Williamsburg work wellness Workout Workout Tips Workouts workplace health workplace wellness Yoga Yoga Poses zero food waste zucchini latkes zucchini pancakes zucchini recipe
Liquid error: Could not find asset snippets/Recent_Posts.liquid