This is part 3 in the three-part series: Combating the Rising Cost of Healthcare.
In the last post I shed light on how exercise provides long-term financial payback. I also explained the economics of a healthy diet.
Getting sleep is the third way to protect our health, and protect our financial future from the rising cost of healthcare. It’s free. If we get enough of it regularly, it can help prevent weight gain, improve our brain function, and lower our risk for illness and disease.
Getting enough sleep is imperative to maintaining a healthy weight. It also aids in losing weight. When we don’t get enough sleep our body makes more of the hormone grhrelin, (activates hunger pangs), and less of the hormone leptin (reduces hunger pangs). Without enough sleep that hormone imbalance makes us hungry! In response, we usually look for a quick energy fix like sugar or caffeine or both. This cycle of lack of sleep, hunger, and eating more sugar and caffeine contribute to our risk of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, puts a kink in our weight loss plans, and will eventually increase our need for medication.
While sleeping, our stress hormones go down and our repair systems go up. Long-term exposure to stress hormones puts a damper on our immune system and increases our risk for diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. When we get the appropriate amount of rest, our body gets the time to take stress hormones out of circulation and put those involved in renewal and repair into play. That’ll keep the doctor visits down to a minimum.
Deep sleep brings a fountain of youth. During deep sleep our body releases growth hormone. This little gem helps us to recover from our workouts, our hard days at work, and the stress we endured through the day. It’s the reason for glowing skin, shiny hair, toned muscles, and a sharp mind. We’ve got to give that hormone time to do it’s work, and during deep sleep is when it works best. It’s not an old wives’ tale, there’s a reason for the term “beauty sleep”. Get enough sleep and you’ll watch your bill for beauty creams take a nose dive.
A lack of sleep can also bring on mental deficits like poor memory, reduced reaction times and lower levels of motivation. It can also worsen anxiety and depression. These issues can make it hard for us to be effective at work, and they can even hurt our relationships at home. With enough sleep, we’re much better in social situations and we’re better decision makers – two qualities that can often lead to a promotion or raise, and a better financial situation.
In light of rising healthcare costs in the US, and the fact that an answer to the problem isn’t around the corner, we need to take our health into our own hands. When we don’t take steps towards prevention we end up paying for it in the form of more health expenses and higher healthcare prices. Not to mention our energy and well-being is compromised, as is our self-esteem and self-confidence.
Exercise, healthy eating and getting enough rest are three, very simple prevention measures we can take advantage of, and they’re free. Improving habits in these areas will improve our health now and ensure a future filled with many more years of life and vitality.
Creating healthy habits in these three areas can seem like an easy, basic task, but many people don’t know where to start. If this is you, you’re not alone.
Most people don’t have the time to invest in learning how to make these changes on their own, or the money to hire a professional for personal guidance. That is why I created MindBodyBlast. It’s an online course, where I help a small group of students take small steps towards healthier food choices and exercising on their own. It adds up to a a big step towards greater health and fitness by the end. Participants not only get healthier, but they get educated in the basics of being healthy for the long run. It’s a small group format so the price is low for the amount of individual attention, education and guidance participants get from me. If you’re interested, come on over and take a look.
Whether you choose to join a class or not, I will still be here to help. I give out reasonable fitness and health guidance for the average, busy person on a weekly basis in the blog. Follow along and you can learn a lot- and get healthier too!
How about you? Are you getting enough sleep these days? Let’s talk about it here.