I’ve thought about this a lot. Tell me if you agree…
Sleep is the MOST IMPORTANT factor for your health.
Don’t believe me? Try this...
Go 2 days without eating.
Congrats! You’ve unlocked the benefits of a 48 hour fast.
Go 2 days without exercise.
Great idea! You needed the break. It’s important to give your body a long rest period to repair overworked muscles.
Go 2 days without sleeping.
Wait...I take it back. PLEASE don’t do this. Because unless you’re super-human, here’s what will happen...
These "two" are VERY sleep deprived...
24 hours in…
Your memory suffers. Hand-eye coordination is weak. Your judgement and decision-making skills are severely impaired. Your risk of accident and injury soars (especially auto accidents).
But let’s assume your sleep-deprived judgement tells you to keep going.
36 hours in...
Inflammation markers and blood pressure are sky high. Hormones are dysregulated. Your emotions are wild and unpredictable. You feel a strong headache coming on.
But still, for some reason, you continue.
48 hours in...
Your body fights back. Despite your best efforts to stay awake, you experience “microsleeps” - which last from seconds to minutes and are followed by severe disorientation. You begin losing chunks of time.
Your body is exhausted, and so is your mind.
Memory, attention, focus, perception and all other mental attributes are severely impaired. You may even begin to mildly hallucinate.
But you did it! A full 48 hours. So now, you finally fall asleep.
However, once you get back to your normal sleep schedule, it will still take days to weeks before you feel 100% again.
So I’ll ask you again…
Do you agree that sleep is the most important factor for health?
The Critical Importance of Sleep
If you actually did go 48 hours without sleep, you’d learn a valuable lesson:
Nothing beats sleep.
There’s a reason that the Guinness Book of World Records no longer recognizes attempts at sleep deprivation.
They can’t encourage it. It’s just too dangerous.
If you’re sacrificing sleep for anything, you’re making a poor choice. And sometimes it’s easy to fool ourselves with these trade-offs.
For example, let’s look at my friend Kyle.
Kyle goes to bed every night around midnight. He usually wakes up around 7am and quickly heads off to work.
Even if Kyle falls asleep instantly (which...he doesn’t), he’s still missing at least 1 HOUR of valuable sleep time.
And over time, Kyle feels the effects. So he decides it’s time to “get healthy”. Which leads Kyle to an even worse decision...
Waking up early to exercise.
Exercise is great, UNLESS you're sacrificing any amount of sleep.
Kyle decides to wake up EVERY morning at 6am and run for 30 MINUTES. He commits to the plan and follows through.
Go Kyle! Right?
Not so fast...
Kyle is now missing out on 2 HOURS of sleep EVERY night. And here’s what happens…
1. Cortisol and markers of inflammation rise. Kyle’s body is primed to store fat.
2. Appetite-stimulating hormones increase, while the hormones that suppress appetite are reduced. Kyle shatters his ability to make healthy food choices.
3. Over time, Kyle’s insulin sensitivity drops - increasing his risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
For the record, there is NOTHING wrong with early morning exercise. But if you’re sacrificing your sleep in any way, you’re making a poor health decision.
In Kyle’s case, he’s stepping over dollars to pick up pennies. He’s fooling himself, just like millions of other Americans.
Every. Single. Day.
Koalas sleep between 18-22 hours a day. Sounds great to me :)
But not you!
So tell us…
Do you know someone like Kyle? Do you think this article would help convince them to change their lifestyle?
Or do you find it hard to convince people of the critical importance of sleep.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know in the comments below!
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