written by
Danielle Gadus

Sleep: the Forgotten Pillar of Health?

2 min read

While many of us put energy into eating a well balanced diet and carving out time for physical activity, we often disregard our need for a good night’s sleep. In today’s fast paced culture, society often prioritizes “doing” and accomplishments over “being” and wellness.

Photographer: Krista Mangulsone | Source: Unsplash

Our Perspective

The glamorization of constantly being “on the grind” or “committed to the hustle” makes it seem like a full night of sleep is negotiable. While we respect hard work and dedication, we also recognize the importance of taking time to rest and rejuvenate. Our College Chefs company culture strides to emphasize a balanced lifestyle, one that includes physical wellbeing.

The exact number of sleeping hours needed for a healthy mind and body varies person to person. Studies show that 7-9 hours of sleep is ideal for the majority of people. In the days of working from home, creating our own schedules and general quarantine time-warps, our sleep patterns are easily thrown out of whack.

Luna Phases
Photographer: Louis Reed | Source: Unsplash

Negative Affects of Sleep Deprivation

If you’ve ever had a restless night, you’ve surely felt the effects of sleep deprivation immediately. Grogginess, difficulty sleeping and effects on mood can be felt throughout the day. Studies show, the long term effects of sleep deprivation can include impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, high blood pressure, stroke and obesity. Studies also show that long-term lack of sleep can increase stress, anxiety and depression symptoms.

In addition to affecting mood and physical wellbeing, sleep also affects hunger and appetite. The National Sleep Foundation explains, “Two hormones that help regulate hunger—ghrelin and leptin—are affected by sleep: Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin decreases it. When the body is sleep-deprived, the level of ghrelin spikes, while the level of leptin falls, leading to an increase in hunger.”

Clearly a key in maintaining overall health, good consistent sleep is often difficult to achieve.

reading in bed
Photographer: Milada Vigerova | Source: Unsplash

Below are our top tips to catching restful Zzz’s.

  1. Stick to a schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. (Yes, even on weekends!) This helps balance our circadian rhythm and leads to more restful nights and more energetic days.
  2. Be mindful of the food and drinks you consume in the evening. Heavy meals, high amounts of sugar, caffeine and alcohol can affect blood sugar levels and keep your body awake working hard to digest the food.
  3. Create a soothing sleep environment. Even in a noisy city or busy household, creating a bedtime routine can train your body to settle into a calm state of rest. Rituals such as quiet music, warm tea, reading or meditation are a few ideas to try to incorporate.
  4. Avoid the screen. Ok, we’ve all heard this one before. But, not only do devices provide the biggest distraction, they also can get your mind racing late at night. The blue light from screens blocks melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy.
  5. Tossing and Turning? If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep, experts recommend getting out of bed. Doing a mellow, quiet activity in another low-lit room can act as a reset to the body and the mind.

And after you catch up on your sleep, go check out the rest of our blogs at blog.collegechefs.com. Sweet dreams!