Why Sleep Is The Missing Link In Your Quest For Health And Happiness
Sleep is one of the first things I touch on with new clients, as I’ve witnessed many clients (and myself!) totally transform their lives simply by making small shifts in their sleep habits.
In our culture, lack of sleep is worn like a badge of honour.
Pithy quotes like ‘a yawn is a silent scream for coffee’ grace every second footpath-board as you walk to work.
We applaud the superhumans who rise at 5am, work out and don’t blink an eye as they power through their work, home, and social lives.
And we think we can do it all too, if we gulp down another flat white, snaffle a sweet treat at 3pm and sleep in on Sundays.
A 2016 study found one in three Kiwis were sleep deprived, and I’d hazard a guess that this number has only increased since then.
So, if you’re in this camp, I urge you to check out my video below or read on for why catching a few extra zzz’s is so damned important for your body and your mind. And why not getting enough of the good stuff is having a pervasively detrimental effect on all aspects of your life.
1. Lack of sleep makes you more stressed and negative.
The Great British Sleep survey found that poor sleepers were seven times more likely to feel helpless and alone.
When you’re sleep deprived, you produce much higher levels of cortisol (one of your major stress hormones). When cortisol is produced, you body assumes your life is in danger and enters the fight, flight, or freeze response. Meaning that we’re more likely to seek out and focus on ‘dangers’ (or negative things) in our environment.
Conversely, if you’re sleep deprived, a study by Nobel Prize winning Daniel Kahneman found that by getting just one more hour of sleep can do more for your happiness levels than a USD $60,000 pay raise.
So if you have an overactive ‘Itty Bitty Shitty Committee‘, a tendency to impostor syndrome or just wish you could be a bit more sunny side of life, then take a good hard look at how much sleep you’re getting, as it could be the difference between being a Negative Nancy and a Confident Cathy!
2. Lack of sleep affects your performance.
Lack of sleep impairs our memory and concentration, makes us more prone to distraction and affects our ability to communicate (making our speech monotonous and unclear).
And conversely, increasing sleep has been found to dramatically increase the performance of professional athletes, with no changes to their routine or to their training schedule.
So whether you need to perform on the sports field, the board room or on the school run - prioritising some zzz’s will help you get more done with less effort and overwhelm.
3. Lack of sleep makes you fat.
Studies have shown sleep to be more determinative of weight regulation than exercise. So if you’re tossing up between hitting that spin class or hitting your Sealy Posturepedic - you now have your answer.
When you’re tired, you instinctively reach for food for more energy, and this food tends to be high in fast energy (AKA sugar and fat!).
Another study has shown that lack of sleep will also increase your appetite and make your body worse at identifying when it’s full (that’s why it’s all too often 'see-ya-later' to the Friday night cheese platter after a busy week!).
Still not sold on getting a more solid sleep? Check out this article on the 27 horrible things that happen when you don’t get enough sleep.
So, I challenge you … for the next week, pay very close attention to your sleep quality and quantity. And stay tuned for next week, where I’ll share my top tips on how to sleep like a baby!
If you’d like to chat further about what might be getting in the way of a good night’s sleep for you and how working with me could help - book in a discovery session today (it's free!).