A good night’s sleep sure seems to put a little pep in our step. But can you really sleep your way to better health? Benjamin Franklin said, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” and more recently Beyonce was quoted in an article saying, “Having peace, happiness, and healthiness is my definition of beauty. And you can’t have any of that without sleep.”
“Sleep is as important for health as nutrition and exercise,” explains Millennium Physician Group Sleep Specialist Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg, MD. “It really is one of the three pillars of health, and you have to make sure that you get enough. It helps with healing of our body and our muscles and has been shown to be important for metabolism. Sleep has multiple benefits, and we all need to make sure we prioritize sleep.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports if not getting enough sleep is a regular part of your routine, you may be at increased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, poor mental health, and even early death. If you don’t get enough sleep night after night, it can lead to all sorts of physical effects. But even a few missed nights of sleep can take a real physical toll on your body.
“I don’t really worry about an occasional bad night. What I worry about is consistently not getting enough, because that can affect our health,” Dr. Abbasi-Feinberg explains. “There’s a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes if you don’t get enough sleep. There are also problems with being sleepy during the day, which then increases your risk of accidents in terms of car crashes and work-related accidents.”
Not getting enough sleep can affect your overall health, your mood, and your stress levels. And racking up those sleepless nights can also take a real toll on your personal relationships.
“We know that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to be less empathetic,” Dr. Abbasi-Feinberg reveals. “So, in any relationship, either at work or at home, sleep deprived people tend to be grumpier and more likely to be short tempered, which then affects all their interpersonal interactions.”