The summer after I graduated high school I got what was probably my first serious dose of reality. I got a job at a candy factory. This was the first time I worked 40 hours a week. I thought it was cake compared to high school. All I had to do was show up on time and do my work. No homework, no studying, no projects. Just show up. We even got bonuses for showing up on time.
Now since I didn’t have to do anything for this job outside of work I had crazy amounts of free time. Not to mention the fact that I now had a grown-up salary. I thought I was rich. So of course, I did what kids do: wasted my money and hung out late almost everyday.
One particular time I went out to a party that lasted all night so I didn’t sleep at all. Now, being the foolish teenager that I was, I was like, “no sweat, my job is easy. I don’t need no stinking sleep.” I was wrong on so many levels. I got to work without issue. I started working. I made it through till the first coffee break. I took a 15 minute nap and went back to work. I’m not sure what happened next, but all I remember is getting yelled at by the shift manager and being told I was going home. So much for, “no sweat”.
Looking back at that situation most of you can see the egregious error I made. But, a lot of us do this almost daily. Ask anybody how much sleep you’re supposed to get and they’ll tell you how much sleep you’re supposed to get, your kids are supposed to get and your mama is supposed to get. So since most people know how much sleep is required nightly why is it that most people don’t get enough sleep?
Well, there are several reasons that people skimp on sleep, but most reasons can be summed up into people overextending themselves. Many of us don’t value sleep as much as we should. I know you’ve heard people say, “oh I’ll catch up on my sleep this weekend” or “I can get by on a few hours of sleep” just to make more time to do something else. But if people really knew what sleep does for your body and mind, they probably would not skimp on it as much.
So here is a list of a few reasons you should start packing in the ZZZs:
Yes! You read that correctly. Without getting too technical, there’s a lot going on in your body while you sleep. Your body is also in a fasting state while it sleeps (because you’re sleeping and not eating), so it’s gotta get energy to do all it does from somewhere. One place it gets this energy from is the body fat reserves, most commonly located in your belly. I’m sure that’s motivation for many to start getting all of their sleep. But remember, deep sleep is important for this. So if you’re supposed to get 8 hours of sleep, four two-hour naps are not as effective a full eight-hour night of sleep.
They don’t call it beauty sleep for no reason. While you sleep your body perspires more, including your face. The moisture smooths out wrinkles on the skin. If you look at most wrinkle creams, they’re most common claim is that they hydrate the skin. That’s what your skin does naturally if you allow it to. Bonus Tip: If you often wake up with lines in your face from your pillow try sleeping on your back, using satin or silk pillow cases or using softer pillows.
Stress can reek havoc on your body and skin. During deep sleep, your mind slows down so that you’re thoughts and feelings are pushed to the background. With stress reduced, your body can focus on what it’s supposed to be working on and that is rejuvenating itself.
During the day your body takes a beating and it’s built to withstand it. But you must give your body a chance to recover from it’s daily beatings. If you don’t, overtime the damage will add up and you’ll start to see the detrimental effects. Put sleep back at the top of your list. Trust me, your body will thank your for it.
Until next time, cheers to a better you.