Forget diet and exercise! It doesn’t matter how you choose to look at it, sleep is the most essential ingredient for optimum health.
Unfortunately, with all the focus on diet and exercise, sleep seems to have become the forgotten cousin. Let’s face it, as a nation there appears to be an overwhelming obsession with diet and exercise.
It doesn’t matter what social platform, TV channel or paid subscription you’re on, there is an overwhelming amount of interest being shed on diet especially.
Programmes like Forks over Knives and Game Changer have changed the way that people view their diet. Sadly though, many are often missing the vital component for a healthy lifestyle, and that is sleep!
Now I’m not saying that a good diet, and regular exercise aren’t important. Obviously, they are, but let’s put things into perspective for a moment.
If you go a week without exercise it rarely, if ever, has a huge impact on your health. Nor will it affect your ability to function or to do your job efficiently, unless perhaps you’re a professional athlete.
Overall you can be less stringent with your diet and exercise yet still engage in daily activities without it having too much of a negative impact on your overall health. You may put on a little weight, but it usually won’t be life changing or even life threatening.
But try and go without sleep for 7 days. It’s impossible. And, within a day or two you will find it impossible to function properly.
A recent study has shown that trying to function on 5 – 6 hours sleep the night before, the average person has the same cognitive impairment as someone who has a blood alcohol level greater than 0.05.
For the whole day.
The importance of getting long, deep sleep on a regular basis is very much recognised by health professionals. Yet it is still frequently undervalued by most of the society.
So why is this? Until recently, there hasn’t been the medical amount of research available that there is now. Researchers are now documenting the compounding dangers of poor sleep health.
The other attributing factor is that many of us often view sleep as of secondary importance to other activities. We just don’t seem to give it the priority that it truly deserves.
Over 59.4% of Australians don’t get enough sleep. Not enough sleep has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and depression.
If you average 7 hours of sleep per night between the ages of 30 – 50 you will reduce your chances of dementia in old age by a massive 40%!
Never underestimate sleep. It’s vital for survival and for the quality of our health and overall physical and emotional well-being.
Sleep, diet and exercise are intrinsically linked. According to 2015 research from the University of Adelaide, eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can help you to fall asleep faster.
Limited or poor-quality sleep affects every aspect of your life. Make deep, regular sleep a priority in your life and watch the improvement to your work life, home life and your relationships.