Five Hours of Sleep is Killing You, Man

 

Contrary to popular belief, adults need more sleep than we think. 7-9 hours a night. Crazy considering our hectic lifestyles—for many of us, this seems down right impossible. Since we are all grown up, why the need for so much sleep and why doesn’t five hours per night do?

Here’s why:

1. REM sleep – Your dream stage

The most important part of our sleep is REM sleep. This is when the body falls into the deepest stage of sleep which allows it to recover and dream. Our body and mind needs this stage to recuperate from the previous day. It is also when the body increases production of certain proteins.

Will five hours per night do?  Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco discovered that some people have a gene that enables them to do well on only five hours of sleep. But this gene is very rare, appearing in less than 3% of the population. For the remainder of us, five hours doesn’t come close to cutting it. Other research done at West Virginia University’s faculty of medicine published that people who get less than five hours of sleep a day including naps, are more susceptible to angina, coronary heart disease, and heart attack or stroke. (Source)

In a typical night, we dream  for about two hours, broken up into cycles. So if you sleep for only five hours a night, you are most likely missing out on the most important two hours of sleep you need.

2. Weight

Woah!  Did you know that you can lose up to 15lbs by just sleeping more? Yes, and for all the reasons mentioned below: mind and diet. The obesity rate in America is at a staggering high and this has contributed to an overall increase in sleep deprivation and diseases related to lack of sleep. The chart below shows the states with the highest rates of sleeplessness and obeseity.  See the commonality? The states with the largest obese population also are the ones with the highest range of sleeplessness.

3. Your mind

Those that sleep fewer than five hours have less memory recall and much slower reaction times. If you operate heavy machinery or drive long distances for a living, lack of sleep can be deadly. Even stimulants that provide a temporary increase in awareness are not recommended over a long period and, if abused, can lead to even more sleep problems.

4. Diet

Fact: those that sleep less than seven hours a night tend to make poorer food choices. And those who sleep less than five hours tend to require daily stimulants to keep them going, which can lead to long term health problems as mentioned above.  People with less sleep also spend more on food, to fill that blurred feeling of hunger.  Sleeping more than seven hours will contribute to a healthier lifestyle and food choices.

5. Beauty Sleep

You’re a dude, a dude dude, and I know that you care about your looks. Sleep deprivation makes you look tired and older. Swedish researchers found that those who have fewer than eight hours of sleep per night were noticeably less attractive, up to 4% less attractive and 6% less healthy looking.

So go to bed, and get some sleep! Don’t take our word for it either—try getting a couple extra hours of sleep for a full two weeks and see how you feel (it’ll probably take you the first week to recalibrate your sleep schedule). We think your body and mind will appreciate it.

*Top photo courtesy of  ask.com

 
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Tags: sleep deprivation

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