Our bodies need rest. While researchers have proposed multiple theories over the years to the actual purpose of sleep, it’s clear that our bodies need it to be healthy. Here are 3 reasons why:
1. Lack of sleep makes us poor drivers
Being tired and inattentive from lack of sleep presents a significant danger for those driving to and from work. Statistics indicate that drowsy drivers were responsible for 72,000 automobile crashes in 2015, which resulted in 41,000 injuries and over 800 deaths. And that might be an underestimate.
2. Lack of sleep could lead to insulin resistance
Lack of sleep also affects our ability to metabolize sugar. In the evening, our bodies usually experience low cortisol levels, preparing us for sleep. Sleep deprivation causes cortisol levels to rise in the evenings, which encourages insulin resistance, a risk factor in diabetes and obesity.
3. Lack of sleep could affect hormones
Another side effect of poor sleep could be hormonal changes. Changes in hormones affect hunger and appetite, which may result in overeating, weight gain, and obesity.
Dr. Michael Thorpy of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center says, “Any American making a resolution to lose weight . . . should probably consider a parallel commitment for getting more sleep.” Dr. John Winkelman of the Sleep Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital says, “better sleep habits may be instrumental to the success of any weight management plan.”
Reprogramming our habits can be as simple as telling ourselves what we want: what we want from our sleep, what we expect, and even what time we want to wake up. It may not work every time, but changing and developing habits takes time.