The right amount of sleep can be as good as exercise

Let me paint a dreamy picture of the perfect Daylight Saving sleep on November 1st. You’re warm, not too hot, not too cold, but juuuuust right. You’re either alone or with a loved one. You’re swaddled in the cool softness of a clean set of sheets. There is a light breeze soothing your mind. It’s dark and calming. You drift off into a deep slumber and wake feeling refreshed. In short, you’ve had enough sleep.

As discussed by Dr. Jean-Philippe Chaput, a Research Scientist with the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group in Ottawa, the term “lack of sleep” refers to when you don’t get enough sleep for “optimal functioning,” or to feel refreshed, energized, and effective throughout the day.

Right now Canadians can rely on sleep guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation in the U.S.:

Age recommendation (hours/day):  

  • Newborns (0-3 months)14-17 hours
  • Infants (4-11 months)12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years)11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5 years)10-13 hours
  • School-aged children (6-13 years)9-11 hours
  • Adolescents (14-17 years)8-10 hours
  • Adults (18-64 years)7-9 hours
  • Older adults (≥65 years)7-8 hours

But, what if I told you that getting enough sleep is as beneficial as getting enough exercise?

In my opinion, sleeping is the most underrated thing we can do for better health. Those who sleep enough are more productive, have a far lower chance of developing obesity, and live longer.

Sleep can get put off because we’re too busy with work, too busy being awesome, or too busy with Netflix (or being awesome with Netflix) to make it a priority. But I’m here to say that with Daylight Saving Time coming up on Sunday November 1st, 2015, sleep should be celebrated by falling back into bed with the aim to get some extra shut-eye! 

Sleeping is the most underrated thing we can do for better health.

Dr. Chaput also shared some good news with us and said that catching up on sleep, through naps or more sleep on the weekend, can at least partially wipe away the negative effects of short sleep during the work week. And, sleeping longer now can prevent future health woes!