Friday, April 10, 2009

Sleep Your Way To The Top

CBS News ran a story with this smirking title earlier in the week. And while the winks, nudges, and grins relate primarily to NOT sleeping, the correlation between adequate sleep and job performance was effectively made.

Especially during a recession, it is critical to your job performance to get adequate sleep. "You're worried and anxious about your job. Maybe you're working even harder. And now you're also worried about your portfolio losses,"says CBS's Jill Schlesinger. "What happens? You can't sleep at night. And this is self-perpetuating, because the lack of sleep can cause some really significant damage to you on the job."

Researchers have found, in fact, that getting only 6 hours of sleep per night reduces your cognitive ability to a level comparable to someone who is legally drunk!

What's more is that Medical News today found, years ago, that sleep deprivation can also make it more difficult to loose weight. Hormones appear to be the culprit. Without sufficient sleep, cortisol levels become irregular during the daytime, negatively affecting metabolism (and the body's ability to use carbs as an energy source instead of turning them into body fat).

Additionally,a chronic condition called insulin resistance has been linked to insufficient sleep. The higher levels of cortisol appear to be also raising insulin levels. Insulin normally instructs muscles to adsorb nutrients, but with insulin resistance, the nutrients aren't adsorbed and are thus more easily converted to fat.

And if that wasn't enough to convince you that you really should be sleeping to get to the top, the Centers For Advanced Medicine And Clinical Research found that adequate sleep can help reduce your risk of cancer!

So, what's the best medicine for getting sufficient sleep? Well, you guessed it, it's our prescription for just about everything: regular exercise. The positive benefits of how regular exercise contributes to regular sleep is well documented and widely recognized.

What's regular? Most days of the week (that's 4 or more with the new math).

One thing though, exercising immediately before bed isn't necessarily a good idea either. The elevated metabolism levels can create alertness and increased energy levels for a lot of people. So, if you're having trouble sleeping at night, the best time to exercise is in the morning.

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