Last week we talked about the power of distractions to derail you as you try to move forward in your day and your life. One of the things we mentioned as important in combatting the impact of distractions was sleep. We know we bug you about this stuff with some regularity and we don’t want to be a broken record but there is some new data on the importance of sleep that is critical to understand if you are committed to creating your bold, creative future. Believe it or not, without good sleep, your future is less certain.
Let us summarize some of what has been known about sleep for some time. Without good quality and at least 6–7 hours of sleep a night, people experience:
- More car crashes
- Irritability and difficulty focusing
- Increase in hunger and the tendency to overeat, particularly carbs and sugar
More recent studies add to this list and, as you can imagine, it’s not in a positive way. The new data confirms that lack of sleep from both spending too little time sleeping and from sleeping poorly is also related to:
- Increased Cardiovascular risks
- Problems with hormone regulation, blood sugar regulation and inflammation in the body
- Sluggish immune systems as well as an increase in pain perceptions
- And, a biggie from our perspective, the research now suggests that during sleep the brain cleans house and if it can’t do that there may be an increased risk of Alzheimer’s or other dementia’s
So . . . spend a few minutes this week considering if you are getting the sleep you need to thrive and grow. If not, ask yourself why? It may be as simple as drinking coffee into the evening or working on your computer late into the night. Or it may be more complex and require a sleep study and conversation with a sleep specialist to tease out what is going on and how to treat it. Linda was just diagnosed with sleep apnea and is working closely with her doctor to deal with it. In their discussions he indicated that as many as 70% of people over 50 have some level of sleep apnea.
You matter. And in order for you to take action in your life, you have to be sleeping well and regularly, so please take the necessary steps to ensure that you are well rested.