Importance of Sleep and a healthy life
Sleep is an integral part of our ability to function at our fullest capacity. We can all relate to needing a cup of coffee in the morning or feeling groggy after a late night but a poor night’s sleep might be more impactful than we realize. While everyone knows that the ideal amount of sleep is 8 hours a night, very few of us actually get that and end up operating on suboptimal levels of sleep. Being able to go through full sleep cycles of sleep without waking up is important for your body’s ability to recover and process memories.
Sleep is starting to become a part of a more holistic view on what it means to be healthy (Chaput, 2019). Canada has begun to revamp their public health policies to address the lack of sleep in its population – especially in adolescents (Chaput, 2019). It’s estimated that one-third of children are not meeting the recommended amount of sleep which significantly impacts their ability to perform academically, their health, and their safety (Chaput, 2019). Often, kids can be overloaded with demanding schedules like pressure for academic performance, extracurricular activities, and work around the house (Gruber, 2019). As a result, sleep is not prioritized and is pushed to the side. However, lack of sleep causes the activities they perform to be performed at a lower rate of success (Gruber, 2019).
These issues aren’t just present in kids, though. Adults experience all of the same things. They get overloaded with busy lives that involve work, social life, dating, extracurricular activities, and health maintenance while sleep falls well below physical fitness and nutrition as far as what people prioritize in their health (Johnson, 2018). Even employers are finding that their employees are less productive when they are not getting quality sleep (Johnson, 2018). 65% of Americans acknowledge that getting enough sleep makes them more effective and productive the next day yet only 10% of Americans prioritize good sleep over other activities (Johnson, 2018). Lower sleep quality results in lower alertness, impaired decision-making, lower memory cultivation, and a lack of motivation (Johnson, 2018). Employees with poor sleep are even more likely to report dissatisfaction with their job and often feel like they have less personal control over their work (Johnson, 2018). All this results in a significant decrease in productivity and it’s estimated that America’s GDP is lowered by 2.3% (that’s $410 billion) every year just due to the resulting ineffectiveness of workers because of poor sleep quality (Johnson, 2018).
America’s culture of devoting your life to work is having serious impacts on sleep quality and is actually leading to chronic conditions in many people (Johnson, 2018). Sleep plays a huge role in health and good sleep has positive impacts on health, physical functioning, and quality of life (Johnson, 2018). Some companies are working to remedy this by providing sleeping pods, nap rooms, or providing flexible hours, but it is also on employees to prioritize sleep and their health over the job (Johnson, 2018). It’s been shown that with increasingly good sleep quality, there is lower psychological distress and higher physical functioning (DeSantis, et al., 2019). Sleep timing and frequency are also important. Waking up and going to bed at similar times every day has been shown to aid in sleep quality (DeSantis, et al., 2019).
All this is to say that it’s time to start prioritizing sleep in your life. Sleep allows us to function and achieve at our highest level and it’s important to maintain perspective when weighing priorities for the day. Getting a good night’s rest, going to bed and waking up at the same time, reducing the light in your room, having a quiet bedroom, and a comfortable bed all aid in your sleep quality and resulting physical and mental well-being. The temptation to say yes to an additional activity or an increased work load can be tough but make sure it won’t result in lowering your quality of life by taking away from the time you have to dedicate to sleep. Aim for eight hours and you’ll be happier, more productive at work, set your body up to perform physically, have more energy, and be able to achieve all you set out to accomplish.
Now that you’re well rested, want some help on your fitness journey? Check out some of our awesome free classes at our offices like dance fitness or our ab and core workout. We even have a meditation class that can aid you in clearing your mind and preparing you for a good night’s sleep. We also have some great tailored paid services that will be customized just for you. Work out with one of our personal trainers, talk with us on the phone for some positive affirmation training, or come join one of our healthy eating classes or grocery store tours so you can build your body both inside and out.
Chaput, J.-P. (2019). The integration of pediatric sleep health into public health in Canada. Sleep Medicine, 4-8.
DeSantis, A. S., Dubowitz, T., Ghosh-Dastidar, B., Hunter, G. P., Buman, M., Buysse, D. J., . . . Troxel, W. M. (2019). A preliminary study of a composite sleep health score: associations with psychological distress, body mass index, and physical functioning in a low-income African American community. Sleep Health.
Gruber, R. (2019). School-based sleep health education in Canada. Sleep Medicine, 9-15.
Johnson, S. S. (2018). Sleep: A fundamental building block for the health and well-being of individuals and organizations. American Journal of Health Promotion, 1627-1628.