7 Proven Reasons to Sleep 8 Hours a Night

sleep 8 hours a nightStaying Up Late Seemed So Cool

When I was a little kid, staying up late was was something I always wanted to do. Adults did, so I figured that was when all the fun stuff happened. Saturday Night Live was on late at night, as well as other late night television my teenage friends seemed to stay up and watch. But I was not allowed. (Oh, and no we couldn’t record it either!)

Now I bless my parents for helping me sleep 8 hours a night. As I hit my high school years, of course, I wanted to be asleep 10 and even 12 hours a night. It turns out that for that age, that’s about right too. For every age there is an ideal amount of sleep your body needs.

Would You Rather be Cool, or Feel Well?

How many hours do you sleep on average? Some people brag about how little sleep they need, but are they right?

Sleep affects more than just how alert you are the following day. Join the conversation by using #8HoursANight and see your posts appear on our Community Page.

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8 hours of sleep affects your healthImprove Your Health; Sleep 8 Hours a Night

When you sleep, more goes on than simply resting your body and brain from the day. Important events take place which cannot happen if you do not sleep.

Dr. Michael Breus clearly outlines four non-REM and one REM stage of sleep in his ebook, Secrets to Sleep Success. He says stages 3 and 4 are the “physical restoration stages.” During these stages, which are 20% of your sleep time, “your body heals itself and you experience metabolic and tissue regeneration.”

REM sleep is the most often talked about stage of sleep, as most of your memorable dreams happen during this stage. Dr. Breus calls this the “mental restoration stage” of sleep. During this time your nervous system is soothed, memories stored, and other daytime information is processed.

Download Dr. Breus’ free ebook “Secrets to Sleep Success”

Medical Implications of Sleep

Diabetes

“Pulling an All-Nighter is Worse Than Six Months of Unhealthy Eating” claims Details magazine. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles have completed a study using dogs which showed one night of sleep deprivation reduced insulin sensitivity by 33 percent. However, you can develop resistance to insulin — a precursor to diabetes — after just days of restricted sleep. Getting too little sleep is also related to weight gain, which is another risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Cancer

A study published earlier this year in the journal Cancer found that people who averaged fewer than six hours of sleep each night had an almost 50 percent increase in risk of colorectal adenomas, a precursor to cancerous tumors, compared to those who clocked in at seven hours a night.

Heart Health/Blood Pressure

The Circulation study, which looked at the sleep habits of more than 52,000 Norwegian men and women, found that people who have insomnia most nights of the week face a 30 percent to 45 percent greater heart attack risk. The reason for the link may be that not sleeping enough causes high blood pressure and hormonal changes, such as the reduced insulin sensitivity mentioned above.

“When you go to sleep, blood pressure normally falls,” study author Susan Redline, MD, professor of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School, said. “A lot of that fall occurs during slow-wave sleep.”

Memory

Making and storing memories takes energy, and a rested brain and body help you with the processes. Sleep is critical to this cycle.

“During sleep, your brain is taking your memories, reactivating and looking at them again, and storing them in a more efficient and effective form.” says Dr. Robert Stickgold in the Harvard Medical School blog.

Vitamin D

People who don’t get regular sleep or who are excessively sleepy during the day may also be lacking essential nutrients. Essential nutrients are exactly what the word says: Essential. It is associated with Immune health, skin health, and more recently it’s relationship to good sleep is being explored.

Vitamin D is best gotten by spending time in the sunshine, daily. Many foods contain amounts of vitamin D as well, and it is available as a liquid or capsule supplement. Download our Essential Nutrient Checklist for more information on vitamin D and all of the essential nutrients your body needs.

Enough?

There are many #health reasons to take sleep seriously, and the research is just starting to catch up to this important #HealthHabit. Think about it: All of us spend one-quarter to one-third of our lives sleeping.

Poor #sleep is a precursor to type 2 #diabetes and other #illness. Learn more: Click To Tweet

#lackofsleep #immunesystem 8 hours a night sleep #8hoursanightBoost Your Immune System by Sleeping 8 Hours a Night

When you are sick, extra sleep is recommended. But getting enough sleep on a regular basis may prevent you from getting sick, or as sick, in the first place.

In his blog “Sleep as Dangerous as Stress on Healthy Immune Function Dr. Michael Breus gives a detailed description of a study which shows exactly the impact lack of sleep has on the immune system. It includes an increase in white blood cells, similar to a spike caused by stress in a “Fight or Flight” situation.

Ingrid Prueher in Early School Start Times Lead to Chronic Overtiredness in Adolescents quotes epidemiologist Anne Wheaton of the CDC and her colleagues from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, “Obtaining adequate sleep is important for achieving optimal health.” Epidemiologists study the “patterns, causes and effects of health and disease” and sleep is a relatively new area of study with regards to the immune system.

Unfortunately, once the #ImmuneSystem has taken a hit by #LackOfSleep it often takes multiple days to get back to a state of health. While Dr. Breus reminds us we cannot get ahead on our sleep in preparation for a long or late night, the BabySleepWhisperer Ingrid suggests “sticking to a schedule even on the weekends” is the best plan.

The impact of stress on the immune system has been well established. Is it any surprise, really, that lack of sleep does the same?

The amount of sleep needed by an individual varies, by age and by the individual. Learn more in #Sleep is a #PureLiving Pillar

See our Sleep Guide for tools we use and love to get a good night’s sleep.

Is it any surprise that #LackOfSleep is bad for your #ImmuneSystem? Click To Tweet

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sleeping 8 hours a night affects your weight #8hoursanightHow Sleeping 8 Hours a Night Affects Your Weight

Since your body is repairing physically and in other ways while you sleep, you are burning calories. Naturally this is not at the same rate as when you are awake and active, however. So the logical person might think if you sleep less, and are active more, you will burn more calories.

This may be true, but studies have shown that people who get 8 hours of sleep eat less calories overall. One study said the difference is about 300 calories per day, which over a months time could be a 3 pound change in weight.

A Stanford study explains how this difference in calorie intake may work. When you sleep less than you should, you body starts to produce two hormones, ghrelin and leptin, in less than ideal proportions. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, and leptin tells your brain when your stomach is full. If you are not sleeping enough you may produce more ghrelin and feel always hungry, without producing enough leptin to feel full.

“Reduced sleep leads to weight gain due to changes in the basal metabolic rate (metabolism) as we become more tired. Tiredness literally slows us down and stops our body from burning fat.” Jonathan P. Wade

This is a proven reason why sleeping 8 hours a night is important for your health. If you sleep less than ideal numbers of hours, but eat exactly to the calories you body needs for the day, you probably won’t gain weight. Unfortunately, these hormones in your body make it more difficult to have the pure will power to stick with a strict diet.

When you don't get enough #sleep two powerful appetite hormones are affected. Click To Tweet

sleep 8 hours a night for more energyMore Sleep = More Energy

Why we sleep remains one of the biggest biological mysteries. As mentioned above, we are learning that lack of sleep has major impact on our health, and even our weight.

One study has shown that ATP, the source of energy that runs all the cells of your body, increases during sleep. This is interesting because during the day, ATP production is very steady, and in the study subjects kept awake didn’t get the surge in ATP production either. This was not a human study, but many things in the animal world correlate to how the human body works as well.

I’m not sure that telling you to sleep 8 hours a night so you have more ATP is or ever will be compelling, however. Feeling rested and ready to enjoy your day, enjoy your loved ones, chase after children, or just pick up your own feet for a run once in a while is where the real energy is at

ATP production increases during sleep. This means more ENERGY when awake! Click To Tweet

sleep 8 hours a night for better skinSleep 8 Hours a Night for Better Skin

Have you heard the line: “What is the largest organ on your body?” The key to the question is the word “on” and the answer is your skin.

Many people think of skin as the wrapping on the package, the container keeping bones and organs and muscles out of sight and all together. But skin has many important functions of its own, and like your brain and muscles, your skin benefits from sleep.

Psoriasis is a particular skin disorder which is classified as an autoimmune disease. Approximately 5 million Americans suffer this disease to some degree, which is about 3% of the population. That percentage may not carry across other nations and cultures, however, since the root cause of the condition may lie in diet and other needs, including sleep.

Dr. Mark Hyman‘s blog 8 Strategies to Eliminate Psoriasis discusses how Functional Medicine approaches psoriasis very differently from traditional medicine. Instead of further suppressing immune response with chemicals and medications, Functional Medicine uses an approach of overall health of the person. These include among other things healing your gut, eliminating toxins or allergens, and… getting 8 hours of sleep per night. Dr. Hyman has written several books that I’ve read, followed, and recommended in other blogs. I have completed his 10 Day Detox Diet and agree that his diet is probably the first best step for many health issues, psoriasis included.

Finally, according to psych­iatrist Rachel Morehouse, director of the Atlantic Health Sciences Sleep Centre in Saint John, N.B., “growth hormone is almost negligible in the system” when we don’t sleep deeply.  Growth hormone is used by your skin and muscles to repair. More growth hormone, better skin.

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sleep 8 hours a night to improve moodImprove your Mood;
Sleep 8 Hours a Night

The coffee cup with the proverbial “Don’t talk to me” message always makes me a little sad. I actually saw a post online by a business owner that said she “cannot deal” with people before noon. What a way to spend your life, depending on a chemical, or time of day, to be ready to engage with people!

In a Harvard Study, one takeaway was that,“Sleep and mood are closely connected; poor or inadequate sleep can cause irritability and stress, while healthy sleep can enhance well-being.Dr. Lawrence J. Epstein says, “People who have problems with sleep are at increased risk for developing emotional disorders, depression, and anxiety.”

Irritability, stress, depression and anxiety are not helpful for relationship building, or maintenance. Your mood affects not only our own productivity and happiness, but impacts the people around you. Often the people affected most and in the worst way are the people you care about most–spouse, parent, child, boss, or friend. Related to our next post, a negative mood also has also been connected to a decrease in sexual arousal.

Be a better friend; Figure out what it is you need to do to get 8 hours of sleep per night.

Sleep 8 Hours a night more sexSleep 8 Hours a Night for More Sex

Yes there is even research to prove this point, but don’t fire the messenger! Researchers found that wives who had trouble sleeping were more likely to be irritable and critical of their spouses the next day. The same research showed that husbands’ sleep habits didn’t affect the couples’ interactions. Regardless, irritable and critical are not good ways to increase sexual arousal in either partner.
Going back to the beginning of this blog, sleep is when the body repairs and rejuvenates. As with weight hormones, testosterone levels may be impacted by sleep. One study showed that men who didn’t get enough sleep had lower levels of testosterone, a hormone necessary for sexual desire and performance.
Enough quality sleep leads to better health, better mood, better relationship, all of which can lead to better sex life too.

Conclusion:

Sleep is gaining attention in the areas of health and wellness, as people begin to look for natural ways to feel, look and even live better. While there are many studies about sleep, there is still a lot that is unknown.  Most studies are clear however on these points:
  • Everyone needs to sleep, but how much varies by age and person.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation may be a precursor to disease.
  • How well you sleep impacts your mood, relationships, and even your sex life.
  • There are many things you can do to improve your sleep.
  • Learn more from sleep experts Dr. Breus and BabySelepWhisperer Ingrid Pruher
  • For many people, natural sleep aids help get better sleep. See our Options Here.

Sleep affects more than just how alert you are the following day. Join the conversation by using #8HoursANight and see your posts appear on our Community Page
Receive the aVivoPur® eBook

Also check out these related and informative blogs:

Sleep is a PureLiving Pillar

About Melatonin & Sleep

About Magnetic Therapy & Sleep

Sleep Quick Guide

aVivoPur Sleep Mask on National Television

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