Do you often find yourself waking up early one day for a meeting, going to bed late on another day because you wanted to catch the end of the game, and then telling yourself you’ll make it up on the weekend? It turns out you can’t really make up a sleep deficit, and changing your sleep schedule on a daily basis is messing up your whole life. You have to keep the same sleep schedule every day for optimal health- missing out on sleep is not good for your health!
Most Americans aren’t getting the sleep they need on a regular basis- many are getting less than 6 hours a night, and almost 5% of people have reported falling asleep while driving. Sleeping 10 hours on one night a week won’t make up for it, either- a study found that people who slept 10 hours or more had reaction times and focus that were worse than if they had not slept at all. But sleeping poorly or not enough can cause a lot more than just poor attention and focus problems.
Not getting enough sleep can totally wreck your day. Sleepiness can cause poor concentration and memory and can even weaken your immune system and increase your likelihood of developing type II diabetes. Maintaining a healthy sleep rhythm is crucial to keeping all your bodily functions in sync.
As your body progresses through all five stages of sleep, important things are happening in your body and in your brain. Stage 1 and 2 are when your mind and body experience relaxation, while stages 3 and 4 are when healing takes place in the body. This is also the time when your immune system is fighting and your cognitive abilities are being repaired and exercised.Stage 5, or REM sleep, is when your experiences are consolidated into memories. Each of these stages is crucial to your physical and mental health as well as to your cognitive abilities, so skipping out on any portion of any one of them can cause serious problems in your waking life.
As with everything in life, sleeping is about finding balance. You can’t be the best possible you if you are consistently sleep deprived. Learn more about the different stages of sleep from this infographic. It might be time to make a serious change in your lifestyle and routines in order to maintain a healthier balance in your sleep schedule.