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Sleep or Death?

That’s a pretty easy question, anyone…everyone can answer that…” – Eddie Izzard, Cake or Death

Sleep or Death? Too Dramatic?

Not according to this neat little infographic.

You need more sleep.

It is as simple as that. Your health and longevity depends on getting 7-9 hours of good, quality sleep on a consistent basis.  It is a matter of sleep or death.

We are sea­sonal eaters and breed­ers with a feast-famine metab­o­lism who develop dia­betes, heart dis­ease, can­cer, and severe depres­sion on any­thing less than 9.5 hours a night for at least seven months out of the year.” Lights Out!  Sleep, Sugar and Sur­vival, T.S Wiley & Bent Formby

If you (or the people in charge of your health and safety) are continually getting less than 6 hours sleep a night – and surveys have found that between 30% and 60% of us are likely to be in this boat – you are at higher risk of:

  • Weight gain
  • Breast cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Appearing to have the brain function of a person who is drunk
  • Getting slammed by junk food cravings
  • Crashing your car
  • Crashing your aeroplane
  • Medical mishap
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • …and that is just the tip of the iceberg!

You Need More Sleep
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Why does sleep have so much impact on our health and longevity?

It all comes back to hormones.

Mela­tonin is the “time-keeper” hor­mone that reg­u­lates the lev­els and tim­ing of other hor­mones in our bod­y.
Less sleep means less oppor­tu­nity for the melatonin secreted at night (or during complete darkness) to reach opti­mal levels.
This has a cas­cad­ing effect that dis­rupts our bod­ies reg­u­la­tion of the rhythm of a whole heap of other hormones including:

  • Leptin and ghrelin: affecting our appetite and energy storage
  • Prolactin: affecting our sex hormones, reproductive and immune system
  • Insulin and cortisol: affecting our energy storage and stress response
  • Serotonin and dopamine: affecting our mental state, food cravings and our perception of food reward
  • …this is also, just the tip of the iceberg!

If you want to know more, check out my previous posts on how and why sleep can affect our efforts to lose weight here and here.

You can find my top 5 tactics to get a better night’s sleep here.

And, if that is not enough, I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival.

So, do you need more sleep?

If you are reading this after sunset, on your super luminous computer or iPad screen:

  1. Leave us a comment at the bottom of this post.
  2. Check your Facebook one last time and if you haven’t already, go over and ‘like’ Eat. Sleep. Move.
  3. Then shut off your device, turn down the lights, and consider an early bedtime!

Go on now! It may be a matter of sleep or death!

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