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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

15 Minutes Less of Sleep Can Break Your Day

15 Minutes Less of Sleep Can Break Your Day

A highly busy person is seen as someone who works tirelessly, working both day and night for their goals. Some even strive for this, and stay up late working all hours, surviving on sheer determination, and a significant amount of coffee. This kind of behavior is destructive. Working without sleep, or working when you haven’t slept enough can have a great impact on your ability to focus, function, and your health overall.

In 1999, a plane, American Airlines 1420 crashed on the runway of Little Rock Airport, Arkansas.[1] There was nothing out of the ordinary about the flight, such cross country flights are routine, the kind every pilot in the world makes hundreds of times in their career. The plane was working perfectly. Yet the crashed killed 11 people, including the captain, and wounded over one hundred others. After some investigation, it was concluded that the pilots were too fatigued, and didn’t pay full attention the the situation around them, and failed to activate the spoiler system, a device in the plane to aid in landing.

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    Of course, not all of us are airline pilots, but think about it, how many times have you heard about fatal car accidents that were caused by a tired driver, or a lack of attention. It is extremely common. It has been estimated that 100,000 car accidents per year occur because the driver was fatigued.[2]

    Why do we sleep less now?

    As human beings, we have evolved to function around the day and night cycle. For centuries, low light conditions signalled to us that it was time to sleep. However, since the invention of electronic lighting, we have created environments where we can remain constantly in bright light conditions, whether it is in the middle of the night or the middle of the day. What’s worse, it has been discovered that the light emitting from an LED screen, the kind on our phones, tablets, computers, or TV actually slows down or even stops the melatonin , a hormone in the brain which enables us to sleep.[3] As a result, either through our own behaviour or our devices, we are getting less sleep than we need in order to function.

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      There have been countless studies into the effects of sleep deprivation, and almost all of them show that it is extremely damaging. Symptoms can range from difficulty focusing, to greater risks of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. By not sleeping as much as we need, we could be putting ourselves in considerable risk.[4]

      The dangers aren’t just health related. Being even slightly sleep deprived can have a huge and disastrous impact on your productivity. It has been shown that losing 90 minutes of sleep can reduce your alertness by as much as one-third. If you’re working in a high pressure and demanding environment, that can have a massive impact on your productivity.[5] Your mental state after four hours of sleep is similar to that of legal drunkenness.[6]

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        However, those who sleep the recommended eight hours per day find they remain focused throughout the day, with few, if any impairments to their mental functioning.

        A small adjustment can turn things around

        Make a small adjustment in your sleeping habit, as small as 15 or 30 minutes, can make a great difference on your energy level the following day.

        Try to gradually add 15 minutes of sleep to your nightly schedule every day. Continue with this until you feel fully rested the next morning. By then you’ll find out exactly how much sleep you need to feel energetic. When you realize the time you need to sleep to gain sufficient energy, stick to that time.

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        There are a number of things you can do to improve your sleeping. Check out this article if you want to sleep better: 15 Ways to Sleep Better, and Wake up Refreshed

        You might find yourself surprised about how much of an impact a tiny adjustment to your sleep pattern can have. Retaining a healthy sleeping pattern will help keep you alert, highly functioning, and productive throughout the day.

        Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

        Reference

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        Samantha Aloysius

        Samantha is an everyday health expert with a background in International Public Health and Psychology.

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        Last Updated on April 19, 2021

        Benefits of Water: Science-Backed Reasons to Stay Hydrated

        Benefits of Water: Science-Backed Reasons to Stay Hydrated

        You may already be aware that you should drink plenty of water each day, but do you know why? Yes, it’s true that you cannot stay alive for very long without drinking water, but keeping well hydrated is also essential for general day-to-day health and well-being. The benefits of water are endless, and H20 is probably even more important than you already realize.

        This article will give you scientific and academically based benefits of water. By the end of this article, you will learn some great reasons to stay hydrated.

        The Nutritional Value of Water

        In terms of nutrition, plain water contains zero calories. This alone is a great reason to consume more of it.

        Unlike almost every other consumable, water is not a source of carbohydrates, protein, or fat.[1] Its only function is to hydrate you, and you can drink plenty of it without worrying about any weight gain.

        Often, when you feel hungry, it’s actually your body telling you that you need more water. Instead of reaching for a candy bar, try a glass of water first, and you may find that the hunger soon subsides.

        5 Scientific Benefits of Water

        Water has so many benefits for your health that it would be impossible to list all of them in this article. However, here are 5 science-backed benefits that water has for your health and why you should always stay properly hydrated.

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        1. Keeps You at Peak Performance

        Your physical performance can suffer if you don’t drink enough water. In fact, your physical performance can be severely impacted if you lose as little as 2% of your body’s water. The result of this can be things like fatigue, loss of body temperature control, less motivation, and lethargy. Exercise will feel a lot more difficult from a mental and physical perspective in this case.

        On the other hand, studies show that a good level of hydration not only prevents the above from happening, but it may even reduce oxidative stress that comes with high intensity activities. This makes sense when you think about the fact that water makes up 80% of muscles.[2] So, stay well hydrated to remain at peak physical condition.

        2. Improve Brain Function

        Your level of hydration has a big impact on your brain function. Studies show that even a modest level of dehydration of 1-2% (of reduced water in the body) can impair many brain functions.[3] The fact that water can help you maintain focus and a good memory is just one of the many benefits of water.

        This was highlighted in a study conducted with young women at the University of Connecticut. The research shows that women who had a fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise suffered from impaired concentration, poor mood, and had more headaches.[4]

        A similar study involving young men also shows that a fluid loss of 1.59% increases feelings of fatigue and anxiety, and reduces working memory.

        3. Prevent and Treat Headaches

        This follows from the previous point that shows how important water is to brain function. Dehydration is usually the root cause of migraines in many people. However, beyond preventing dehydration, new studies show that drinking water can be an effective way of treating and even preventing headaches from happening in the first place.[5]

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        4. Deliver Nutrients to Your Body

        Although pure water does not contain any nutrients itself, it can absorb some minerals and deliver them to your body, which is one of the best benefits of water.[6] After a workout, water acts to help your muscles recover by delivering the right amount of nutrients at the right time. This is especially important at night as that’s when most of your muscle recovery happens.

        Bottled mineral water can sometimes contain healthy minerals that your body needs like sodium, magnesium, and calcium. Just make sure you read the label to learn the exact mineral content of your bottled mineral water.

        5. Regulates Body Temperature

        Water is excellent at absorbing and transferring heat in your body. In fact, it is the primary way that the human body is able to regulate its temperature.

        Water has a relatively high heat capacity, so the water in every cell of your body can work as a shield against sudden temperature changes.[7]This is also the reason why professionals always recommend you drink plenty of water in hot climates.

        How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

        Now that you understand why you should drink more water, the next question is how much you need in order to receive the benefits of water. The Internet is full of uneducated responses regarding the amounts of water you need to keep your body functioning properly, and the most common response is the un-scientific 8 cups a day rule.

        However, most scientists and health professionals agree that it’s much better to drink according to your gender, weight, level of physical activity, and climate. Read this article to know how much water you should be drinking each day: How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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        The simple rule of thumb is to drink when you feel thirsty. Your body has evolved complex mechanisms in your brain and body to send signals when your body needs more fluid intake. Learn to listen to your thirst, and you’ll be well on your way to drinking enough water.

        How to Drink More Water

        After working out how much water you should drink in a day, you might discover that you’re not drinking enough. If this is the case, you will need to find new ways to drink more water each day. For instance, you can eat water-rich fruits, like watermelons, and make new hydration habits, like drinking a cup of water before each meal or carrying a water bottle with you to work.

        If you’ve been trying to develop healthy habits like this one but can’t get past your procrastination, check out Lifehack’s Fast-Track Class: No More Procrastination.

        If you need help to get you to drink more water, you can also check out the 3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water.

        You can even eat your water from these fruits and vegetables:[8]

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        Ways to eat your water

          Conclusion

          Water is essential to a properly functioning body. You should proactively try to keep yourself well hydrated in order to receive the many benefits of water.

          Hydration is not the only benefit of water you will experience from maintaining a good level of daily water intake. Water can help you stay at a peak physical condition, maintain brain function, prevent headaches, and regulate your body temperature.

          Make sure you drink enough water each day to enjoy all the amazing health benefits that water has to offer.

          More on Good Hydration and Nutrition

          Featured photo credit: Nigel Msipa via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Beverage Impacts on Health and Nutrition: The Nutritional Value of Bottled Water
          [2] Sports Medicine: Hydration and Muscular Performance
          [3] The British Journal of Nutrition: Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men
          [4] The Journal of Nutrition: Dehydration Affects Mood In Healthy Young Women
          [5] Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice: Increased water intake to reduce headache: learning from a critical appraisal
          [6] Livestrong: Nutritional Value of Water
          [7] Sciencing: How Does Water Stabilize Temperature?
          [8] Skinny Ms: 21 Ways to Eat Your Water

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