On Rosh Hashanah, many have the custom not to nap during the day, because one might “sleep away one’s mazel” and during Simchas Beis HaShoeva, לא טעמו טעם שינה – the Jews did not even “taste the taste of sleep”. While skimping on sleep is ok once in a while, our bodies need adequate sleep each night in order to stay healthy.

Sleep Facts

• A good night’s sleep (7-8 hours) is crucial for preventing inflammation in the body that can lead to heart disease and diabetes. (See Rambam Hilchos Daios)

• If getting 7-8 hours of sleep isn’t possible, regularly taking a nap during the day can lower a person’s risk for coronary heart disease by 37%!

• Lack of sleep triggers hormonal shifts that boost hunger and appetite (and make you crave fatty foods, like doughnuts and fries). One 15-year study showed that people who only got 5 hours of sleep per night had 16% lower levels of the hormone leptin (low levels are linked to obesity) than those who slept an average of 7-8 hours per night.

• Children 5-11 years old who sleep less than 11 hours per night are more likely to be obese adults than kids who get more sleep.

• There is a 25% increase in the number of “snack calories” people consume when they sleep 5.5 hours per night, instead of 8.5 hours.

6 Suprising Reasons You´re Tired

1 Being tied town to “tech toys” – cell phone, laptop, Blackberry. Take short breaks from these devices. Tuning in to the present moment, taking a walk without your phone, is naturally energizing.

2 Not getting enough sleep. Doing 15-30 minutes of stretching exercises 4 times per week reduced sleep problems by 30%.

3 Feeling worried about the same issue for a long time. Working through this anxiety is a surefire way to improve your sleep.

4 Doing a really intense workout once or twice a week. This type of workout doesn’t boost your energy. Switch to a lower intensity workout and exercise 3-4 times per week.

5 Eating out a lot. Restaurant and fast foods don’t typically have many nutrients that provide all-day energy. Try to see that your food has a lot of fiber and contains lots of fruits and vegetables.

6 Not making time for fun. Seeing friends, doing new things and spending time with family are energizing activities. In a Dutch study, those who preferred to spend time alone were tired significantly more than their outgoing counterparts.