Not that long ago, entrepreneurs like Ariana Huffington bragged that they were able to accomplish so much because they could operate on just a few hours of sleep a night. Those days are gone.
The Huffington Post founder, in fact, broke her own cheekbone when she nodded off in the middle of her tasks, sleep deprived and desperate for restoration. Now she — and a bevy of other high achievers, health experts, and biohackers — touts the benefits of sleep.
Dana J. Rockey, DMD, is a sleep and wellness specialist who prioritizes sleep — both his and yours. At our South County Sleep Solutions office in Newport Beach, California, he helps you attain and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. And both of those start with good sleep.
1. Sleep repairs your body
You’ve heard about the benefits of human growth hormone (HGH). You may have even thought about taking supplements that increase your HGH levels. Well, sleep increases HGH.
While you’re sleeping, your body produces and releases HGH so that you can repair and restore cells that were damaged or are getting older, including muscle and brain cells. So, if you want to keep your body as strong and healthy as possible, get enough sleep to do the repair work your body needs.
2. Sleep gives you energy
Just like you need to charge your cellphone when the battery runs down, you need to charge your body so you can power through your days. In case you still feel like sleeping is lazy, get this: While you sleep your body and brain are busy repairing damaged cells, killing and kicking out dead cells, and draining toxins from your body.
Even though your consciousness gets a rest while you sleep, other parts of you kick into high gear. One reason it’s important to get a full 7-9 hours of sleep a night (or whatever makes you feel rested and raring to go) is that the four different stages of sleep accomplish different things, and these four stages cycle throughout the night.
Deep sleep, known as Stage 3, or N3, tends to occur mostly in the first few hours of your night’s rest and the first sleep cycle. During deep sleep, your body repairs and detoxes. Depending on your age, you may need at least 30-60 minutes or more of deep sleep a night.
Stage 4 sleep is the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. That’s where you dream. You may think dreams are a waste of time and that you’d rather really be chasing a tiger rather than dreaming of running away from one, but REM helps you consolidate your memories so you can recall facts, figures, and names.
3. Sleep makes you sexy
Even if you don’t share a bed with a partner, sleeping by yourself is sexy, too. Your sex drive is regulated by your hormones, and many of your your hormones are produced and released during your sleep.
If you don’t sleep, one of the first things to go may be your sex drive. Both women and men have trouble sleeping as they age, which affects their hormones and vice versa.
Insomnia leads to:
- Low libido
- Vaginal dryness in women
- Erectile dysfunction (ED) in men
- Painful sex
- Lack of sexual sensation
Most adults need about 7-9 hours of sleep per night so their body can do all the restoration, hormone production, and regulation needed to stay healthy.
4. Sleep keeps you satisfied
If you’re always hungry and reaching for a quick burst of energy with caffeine or sugar, you might not be getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep interferes with the hormones that control hunger and satiety, leptin and ghrelin.
Get enough sleep, however, and cravings for carbohydrates evaporate like a bad dream. When your hormones are balanced, you know when you’re hungry and you know when you’re full.
5. Sleep keeps you sharp
Those silly dreams you have aren’t just entertainment for your journal or obliging your significant other. Because REM helps you consolidate memories, it also keeps your brain healthy. In fact, one of the top risk factors for dementia is lack of sleep, particularly lack of REM.
Alcohol can disrupt sleep, including REM sleep. In fact, the classic hallucinations that go along with alcohol withdrawal and delirium tremors (DTs) are actually the brain’s attempt to get the REM sleep it lacks.
When you get enough sleep, you stay sharp, focused, and alert. That means you can get more done in your 16 hours of activity than someone who has deprived themselves of sleep, hoping to “gain” an extra hour or two.
Are you getting the sleep you need? Find out by scheduling a sleep consultation today. Call us at 949-558-0554 or use our online form.