You’re Getting Sleepy…

sleepAre you catching enough Zzzz’s? How many hours of sleep do you usually get? Eight hours? Seven? Six or less? A new book claims the old saying, I’ll sleep when I’m dead….is actually killing us.


It’s estimated that two thirds of adults around the world aren’t getting enough sleep. The World Health Organization and Walker both recommend about eight hours a night as a good baseline.

(Author and neuroscientist Matthew) Walker argues that routinely getting only six or seven hours of shut-eye per night can do serious long-term damage to your health, and in some cases even kill you. He insists on a strict eight hours of “sleep opportunity” for himself. That means he’s in bed for at least eight hours a night, even if he spends a portion of that time falling asleep and waking up. He says that schedule helps keep him productive, as well as emotionally and physically fit.

According to the Huffington Post, “Sleep deprivation is linked to a variety of serious health problems, including heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. It stresses you out because your body overproduces the stress hormone cortisol when it’s sleep deprived. While excess cortisol has a host of negative health effects that come from the havoc it wreaks on your immune system, it also makes you look older, because cortisol breaks down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic. In men specifically, not sleeping enough reduces testosterone levels and lowers sperm count.”

National Public Radio (NPR) quoted the books author, Matthew Walker – who is also the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, as saying:

“Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain,” Walker says. “Many people walk through their lives in an underslept state, not realizing it.”

“Every disease that is killing us in developed nations has causal and significant links to a lack of sleep,” he says. “So that classic maxim that you may [have] heard that you can sleep when you’re dead, it’s actually mortally unwise advice from a very serious standpoint.”

If, at this point, you are thinking – ‘that’s all well and good, but I find it difficult to fall or stay asleep,’ offered these basic sleep tips to get you started toward a better night’s shut-eye.

  • Don’t drink coffee (or caffeine) after lunch – it can lead to tossing and turning all night.
  • Don’t stay up late looking at a screen – the blue light prevents us from being able to “wind down” and fall asleep.
  • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
  • Don’t read, write, eat or watch TV in bed.
  • Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack.

Share your thoughts on why so many of us fail to get the sleep we need and any tips you may have to help others. Working together with our partners to find innovative solutions to the health issues we face is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!




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