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Pillow Talk: Why Your Body Loves (and Needs) a Specific Amount of Sleep

Let's unravel the mystery of sleep—specifically, how much sleep you truly need, and why. If you want to thrive with energy, balance your mood, improve your focus and productivity, and decrease your health risks, keep on reading....


woman in green shirt, with red hair, holding a sleep mask over her eyes

How much sleep do I need?


For adults, the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately, one-third of Americans get less than the recommended amount. Now, there are some people  who can function well on less than 7 hours but for the majority, research shows that chronically sleeping less than 7 hours can lead to increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, anxiety, and depression. And sleeping too much can have those same  negative health consequences; it could also be a sign of a mental health or medical condition that already exists. Let’s dive into why sleep is so crucial…..


Sleep is important for physical health


Sleep is the body's time to rejuvenate and repair. Adequate sleep is linked to a strengthened immune system, improved metabolism, and better cardiovascular health. Conversely, chronic sleep deprivation has been associated with an increased risk of conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.

Interesting fact: studies show that immune response after a vaccination is improved if one has had a good nights sleep, and has their vaccine in the morning hours!


Sleep is important for mental and emotional well-being 


Quality sleep is a cornerstone of mental and emotional health. It plays a pivotal role in mood regulation, stress resilience,  and cognitive function. Sleep deprivation increases the risk of anxiety and depression. Sufficient sleep empowers you to face life's challenges with a clear and focused mind, as well as fostering creativity, productivity, and focus in your career. 


You may have noticed a time when you were trying to memorize for a test, practicing a musical instrument, or working on some project and hit a “block.” You go to sleep, and the next morning, boom! You “get it.” That’s the power of positive sleep. On the contrary you may notice that after a bad night’s sleep you are moody, short-tempered, and not as productive or focused.


Sleep affects reaction time and decision-making


Ever had a day where you felt a bit "off?" Sleep deprivation can significantly impair reaction time and decision-making. It dulls cognitive abilities, making tasks that require concentration more challenging. There is also evidence that sleep deprivation can foster riskier behavior, as well as affect personal moral dilemma decisions.


Drowsy Driving: A Serious Consequence


One often overlooked consequence of sleep deprivation is drowsy driving. Studies show that driving after being awake for 18 hours is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%. Operating a vehicle in this state increases the risk of accidents and compromises road safety. The National Sleep Foundation feels that those that have only slept 3 to 5 hours in the last 24 hours are unfit to drive.


PSA: Young drivers (aged 16-25 years) and shift workers are at greatest risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.


Sleep isn't a luxury; it's a necessity


In the hustle and bustle of life, it's easy to prioritize everything else over sleep. We view any kind of rest as a weakness, and the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mantra holds strong, especially for successful people in the limelight; the individuals influencing not just us, but our future generations. 


Recognizing sleep as a non-negotiable pillar of well-being is crucial. Incorporating good sleep hygiene practices, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, optimizing your sleep environment, and managing your stress can significantly enhance your sleep quality. A sleep consultant/coach can guide you in all of these areas.


There are also biological, physiological, and medical factors that affect sleep. Certain medications can also negatively affect your slumber. Speak with your healthcare provider if you are having chronic sleep issues and feel that any of these may be a factor.


Let's embrace the power of a good night's sleep. It's not just about logging hours; it's about investing in your health, vitality, and resilience. 


Need a roadmap towards getting the rest you deserve? Download my


Sweet dreams and rest well!


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