We all have heard how important a good night’s rest is and most of us believe this to be true; however many people struggle with getting adequate sleep. In this post we are going to discuss just a few of the many health benefits to getting those zzzzz’s at night.
- Poor sleep is linked to weight gain.
Short sleep duration is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity. A recent study found that children and adults with short sleep duration were 89% and 55% more likely to become obese. There are numerous factors linking short sleep duration to the effects on our bodies causing weight gain including hormone imbalances and lack of motivation to exercise. Therefore, if you are trying to lose weight getting an adequate amount of sleep is crucial to the level of success you will see.
- People who get adequate sleep tend to eat fewer calories throughout the day.
As mentioned above, insufficient sleep can affect our hormones, especially the hormones that regulate appetite. People who tend to get less than sufficient sleep at night show higher levels of Ghrelin (the hormone that stimulates appetite) and reduced levels of Leptin (the hormone that suppresses appetite). This hormone imbalance leads to an increase in appetite, therefore leading to increased consumption of calories throughout the day.
- A good night’s sleep can improve concentration and productivity.
Sleep is vital for numerous aspects of brain function. Sleep deprivation has a negative effect on brain function including cognition, concentration, productivity, and performance. One study found that a lack of sleep can negatively impact brain function to a similar degree as alcohol intoxication. Conversely getting a good night’s sleep has been proven to show improved problem-solving skills and improve memory performance in both children and adults.
- Poor sleeping habits lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
It is well known that the quality of sleep and how long we sleep at night can have an effect on many health risk factors. These factors are believed to drive chronic diseases.Heart disease is one of these chronic diseases directly affected by sleep. A review of 15 different studies found that people who do not get adequate sleep are at a significant increased risk for heart disease or stroke as those individuals who get 7-8 hours of sleep at night.
- Sleep affects glucose metabolism and Type II Diabetes risk.
Sleep deprivation can show symptoms of prediabetes in healthy adults in as little as 6 days as one study proved. This same study found that after one week of increasing sleep, these symptoms resolved. There are several studies that show a very strong link between poor sleep habits and the adverse effects on blood sugar in the general population.
- Poor sleep is also linked to Depression.
Depression is strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders. An estimated 90% of people who suffer with depression complain about quality of sleep. People with sleeping disorders such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea have been shown to have a significant higher rate of depression than others without.
- Sleep improves the function of your immune system.
One large two week study monitored the development of the common cold after giving participants nasal drops with the cold virus. This study found that the individuals who slept less than 7 hours at night were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than the individuals who slept eight hours or more. If you are prone to getting colds getting eight hours or more of sleep at night can be very beneficial.
- Poor Sleep has also been linked to increased inflammation.
Inadequate sleep has been known to stimulate undesirable markers of inflammation and cell damage. Poor sleep has been strongly linked to long-term inflammation of the digestive tract. These disorders known as inflammatory bowel disease have shown an increase in re-occurrence in those individuals who do not get adequate sleep as compared to good sleepers.
*Information adapted from 10 reasons why good sleep is important, written by Joe Leech, MS**