Today’s blogpost is all about the health benefits from sleep.
Sleep is important. This is general knowledge. However, somehow, people generally still seem to underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep. Its importance goes way beyond simply boosting your mood or removing those annoying under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more. I’m recovering from a severe burn-out and currently in the process of losing weight again. My sleep is a key part in this process. Therefore, I decided to compose a list with the health benefits of sleep. I hope you guys find it interesting.
1. Poor sleep can make you more fat
If you are thinking about going on a diet, you might want to plan an earlier bedtime too. Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain. People with short sleep duration tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate sleep. In fact, short sleep duration is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity. In one extensive review study, children and adults with short sleep duration were 89% and 55% more likely to become obese, respectively. The effect of sleep on weight gain is believed to be mediated by numerous factors, including hormones and motivation to exercise. If you’re trying to lose weight, getting quality sleep is absolutely crucial.
2. Sleep improves memory
Your mind is surprisingly very busy while you snooze. During sleep you can strengthen memories or practice skills learned while you were awake. This process is called consolidation.
3. Curb inflammation
Inflammation is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. Research indicates that people who get less than six hours of sleep a night, have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get more than six. A 2010 study found that C-reactive protein, which is associated with heart attack risk, was higher among people who got less than six hours of sleep a night.
4. Spur creativity
Get a good night’s sleep before getting out the easel and paintbrushes or the pen and paper. In addition to consolidating memories, or making them stronger, your brain appears to reorganize and restructure them, which may result in more creativity as well. Researchers at Harvard University and Boston College found that people seem to strengthen the emotional components of a memory during sleep, which may help spur the creative process.
5. Improve physical performance
If you’re an athlete, there may be one simple way to improve your performance: sleep. A Stanford University study found that college football players who tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for seven to eight weeks improved their average sprint time and had less daytime fatigue and more stamina.
6. Good sleep will make you eat less
Studies show that sleep-deprived individuals have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories. Sleep deprivation disrupts the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones and is believed to cause poor appetite regulation. This includes higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite, and reduced levels of leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite.
7. Sleep affects glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes risk
Experimental sleep restriction affects blood sugar and reduces insulin sensitivity. In a study in healthy young men, restricting sleep to four hours per night for six nights in a row caused symptoms of pre-diabetes. These symptoms resolved after one week of increased sleep duration. Poor sleep habits are also strongly linked to adverse effects on blood sugar in the general population. Those sleeping less than six hours per night have repeatedly been shown to be at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
8. Lower stress-levels
When it comes to our health, stress and sleep are nearly one and the same and both can affect cardiovascular health.
“Sleep can definitely reduce levels of stress, and with that people can have better control of their blood pressure,” Dr. Jean says. “It’s also believed that sleep effects cholesterol levels, which plays a significant role in heart disease.”
9. Stay clear from a depression
Sleeping well means more to our overall well-being than simply avoiding irritability. Mental health issues, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders. It has been estimated that 90% of people with depression complain about sleep quality. Poor sleep is even associated with an increased risk of death by suicide. Those with sleeping disorders like insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea also report significantly higher rates of depression than those without.
10. Improve your immune system
Even a small loss of sleep has been shown to impair immune function. One large two-week study monitored the development of the common cold after giving people nasal drops with the cold virus. They found that those who slept less than seven hours were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept eight hours or more. If you often get colds, ensuring that you get at least eight hours of sleep per night could be very helpful. Eating more garlic can help as well.
Overall, you can conclude that sleep is a key part in your overall well-being. Not only will a healthy sleeping pattern increase your chances of a long, healthy life, it will also help you lose weight in the process.
by Robert Mitchell