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Importance of sleep

These days, getting less sleep can be seen as a badge of honor. "The grind" is romanticized, and working sun-up to sun-down gets you a pat on the back. How did we get here?! Science shows us time and time again there could be very detrimental effects from chronic sleep loss, but somehow we have created a society that strives for less. Lets explore why you SHOULD be getting more sleep:

Chronic sleep loss can lead to diseases like dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, hypertension, and mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. It has been found that ideal sleep ranges from 7-8 hours a night. Aside from these specific diseases, if you are getting less than 5 hours a night, all-cause mortality rises 15%. Many of these risks have been found to be almost a U shaped graph - if you get MORE sleep than recommended, risks can rise - if you get LESS than recommended, risks can rise.

woman sleeping

In regards to obesity, studies have found that participants with 7.7 hours of sleep a night had the lowest BMI. Those who had more sleep had a higher BMI, and those with less had a higher BMI as well - this is that U shape we talked about.

For all those who want to gain muscle - This is for you! Evidence suggest that a lack of sleep is linked to a catabolic (breaking down) environment in the body, due to hormones like cortisol and testosterone being altered. Check this out:

Acute sleep deprivation reduced muscle protein synthesis by 18%! Sleep is important when your training, and can impact your body composition.

Lack of sleep also affects cognitive function and mood. You can become more irritable and have more anxiety. It has been shown that decision-making is also affected, and people with less sleep often make poor-decisions. This is an important reminder that you may be working more, but you may be able to get that same amount of work done in LESS time if you had more sleep! Then you would have more time for hobbies, spending time with your family, or tending to what matters most!

Many of us indulge in alcohol or drugs that affect sleep cycles (like depressants, THC/CBD etc.). You may be a firm believer these substances help you get to sleep - and you would be right! HOWEVER, evidence shows that while they help you fall asleep, your sleep quality is poor. Then you wake up with the same problem, and wonder why you aren't getting results.

Try these natural effective quick-tips if you are having trouble falling asleep at night:

  • No caffeine after noon

  • Stop screen time or technology use an hour before bed

  • Exercise during the day

  • Set a sleep schedule

  • Lower the room temperature at night (keeping hands and feet warm)

I hope you all realize how important sleep is, and start to use it as a tool. Its a powerful healer!

Until next time - Stay well!


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