Healthy Food

Eating and Sleeping: Timing is Everything | by Chloe Eugene | Oct, 2021

Chloe Eugene

Every human being, from a one-month-old infant to a 99-year old, performs two specific activities to live: eating and sleeping. Although we humans participate in those very same exercises, some are rewarded with the privilege of health while others are not. Why do only certain people obtain good physical condition when everyone does the same two activities? The key to this question is in “how” one practices eating and sleeping.

If you’ve eaten anything today, congratulations! You have completed step one of the manual to a healthy lifestyle! Well perhaps, step 0.5 is a more accurate description. Eating is an essential part in maintaining life that applies to all living things, not just humans. Humans eat to produce energy from the absorbed nutrients in foods that we consume. However, not all foods are beneficial for a healthy body. Foods such as pizza and french fries are high in calories and contain other processed and refined ingredients that are often detrimental to one’s health.

The real problem follows after consuming those fat-filled foods. A high-calorie diet with inadequate physical activity results in becoming overweight and may result in obesity, which could then lead to diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and gallstones. Eating high-calorie foods is just one of the many unhealthy habits that can result in unfortunate outcomes. Thus, it is important to be informed of the foods we consume in order to maintain and improve our body.

Moreover, the consistency and frequency of absorbing nutrients play an equally significant role in building a healthy body. Our food choices and the amount we eat are regulated by the time we start our meals: If we are unreasonably hungry — say, after skipping a meal or two — we tend to make unwise choices out of desperation. When we eat at the proper times, our metabolism becomes more active. On the other hand, late-night consumption of food intervenes with digestion and sleep, which could eventually lead to health complications. Although eating may seem like a simple, trivial task, its results can be life changing.

Now that we have a full tummy, we ought to take some rest. Not just any rest, but sleep! An average person will sleep for about 229,961 hours in their lifetime, or basically one third of their life. Although sleeping may seem like an effortless task to some, it plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout one’s life. One’s mental and physical performance during the daytime depends mostly, if not all, on sleep.

So what exactly does sleep do that is so important for our health? Sleep is like a personal technician for each of us. During sleep, our body replenishes the damaged and worn out parts of our machinery for healthy brain function. In our childhood and teen years, sleep also helps support physical growth. However, getting sleep alone is not enough — again, only a consistent and sufficient sleep schedule will save one from the monster under the bed! Oh excuse me, perhaps I was mistaken about the monster under one’s bed, but the consequences of sleep deficiency may be even more monstrous than the ghostly apparition lurking under the bed. The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant, such as a car crash, or cause damage over time. For instance, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise one’s risk for some chronic health problems.

Aside from the obvious health complications, sleep deprivation can also affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and interact with others. Have you ever pulled an all-nighter for a test, cramming until sunrise the day of? I have, and I know for a fact that I was constantly grumpy and falling asleep in every class. I didn’t want to move, couldn’t concentrate during the test, and performed poorly in my volleyball game despite my pre-game latte’s desperate rescue attempt.

Now, imagine that this were to continue for a month. I will leave it to you guys to imagine the length of my eyebags after, but I assure you such a pattern would decrease my quality of life. And although there may be no visible immediate consequences of sleep deprivation, some long-term consequences could include hypertension, heart attacks and strokes, obesity, diabetes, depression and anxiety, decreased brain function, memory loss, a weakened immune system, lower fertility rates and psychiatric disorders. In comparison, an imaginary monster under the bed doesn’t sound quite so scary.

We don’t need money, marble-floored houses, or private jets to live healthy, satisfactory lives. The media nowadays might disagree, but just a little change in our diet and sleep schedule can instantly improve our quality of life! It is important to clear off a common misconception: it is not because we do it on a regular basis that it is unimportant, but rather that doing it regularly is important. Stay informed and aware, but nothing beats action. Start by observing your diet and sleeping pattern and you are on your way to becoming a health guru! Eat, Sleep, Be healthy. Repeat.

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