Why Sleep May Be the Most Important Thing for your Health
Life is a bit like a role-playing game (RPG), the computer games where you have to complete quests, collect gold and fight dragons. To fully regain your health points in an RPG, you must find an inn and sleep. The same concept applies in real life.
Sleep and the Brain
Sleep allows your brain to reorganize itself and process all the information collected throughout the day. Without sleep, your brain eventually goes insane and you die. Sleep is so important that you can actually go longer without eating than you can without sleeping! This is why when you’re sleep-deprived, you may suffer from brain fog, memory loss and slow reaction time.
Sleep and Weight Gain
To make up for the fact that you aren’t sleeping, your brain’s first reaction is to increase your appetite. You’ll suddenly find yourself craving carbohydrates, putting on weight, and uncontrollably shoveling desserts into your face at odd hours of the day and night. Because a lack of sleep is considered to be stressful, your adrenal glands will start producing cortisol, the stress hormone. So all that weight you gain goes straight to your stomach. This type of fat increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Sleep and Immune Function
One of the nastier side effects of cortisol is that it tends to lower your immune system’s ability to fight off disease. Lack of sleep leads to getting sick more often and staying sick for longer. Not surprisingly, getting extra sleep can help you recover from sickness and give you more energy. Instead of spending money on Vitamin C and zinc supplements, prioritize sleep. Your boss may be upset with you at first, but she’ll be impressed with your productivity the next day.
Sleep and Healing
Whether you have an injury or you’re looking to build muscle from workouts, sleeping can help you recover faster. When you sleep, your body goes to work to build proteins and repair cells. Since lifting weights creates microtears in your muscles, getting enough sleep after working out is crucial if you want to see results. I mean, just ask Tom Brady. He has a whole line of products that claim to help you sleep and recover better.
Sleep is one of the simplest solutions in a world of complicated problems. It’s also one of the basic needs in life. If you’re drinking clean water and eating good, healthy food, why not make sure that you’re getting enough sleep as well? No matter how stressful or busy you get, make time to sleep. Like in that RPG, you need sleep to heal and you need full health points to fight that dragon.