Today – Reasons Sleep Is Crucial to Your Health
Getting a good night’s sleep is incredibly essential for your health and wellbeing. In fact, sleeping well is just as important as eating healthily and getting enough exercise. But unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can interfere with our natural sleeping patterns and cause sleep issues.
Reasons Sleep Is Crucial to Your Health
People these days are sleeping a lot less than they used to in the past, and sleep quality has decreased for a lot of people too. From electronic use late at night, to our diets and lifestyles, there are many factors which could cause you to struggle to sleep at night or not enjoy a night of good quality sleep. But, taking steps to improve your sleep is hugely important for your health.
Poor Sleep is Linked to Weight Gain
Poor sleep has strong links to higher body weight. People who only sleep for a short amount of time at night tend to weigh more than those who sleep for 7-9 hours a night. In fact, short sleep duration is one of the largest risk factors for obesity. One study found that adults with short sleep duration were 55% more likely to develop obesity, while children who do not get enough sleep at night are 89% more likely to be obese. This effect of sleep on weight gain is believed to be caused by several factors, including hormone regulation and a lower motivation to exercise when you are tired. If you are trying to lose extra weight, getting enough quality sleep at night is crucial. A memory foam mattress can help improve your comfort at night and make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep for an adequate amount of time. Mattress Next Day has a lot of information to help you choose which mattress is right for you. Read this guide to help make your decision.
Good Sleepers Eat Better
Studies have shown that people who are sleep-deprived tend to have a bigger appetite and consume greater amounts of calories compared to people who get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause a disruption to the daily fluctuations in your appetite hormones, which can lead to poor appetite regulation. And, when you don’t get enough sleep at night, your body is more likely to be lacking energy, which can cause you to feel hungrier and crave foods that are high in sugar. Not getting enough high-quality sleep can lead to higher levels of ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone, and reduced levels of leptin, a hormone which suppresses appetite.
Sleep Improves Concentration and Focus
Getting enough sleep isn’t just important for your physical health and wellbeing; it is also important for various aspects of brain function, including concentration, cognition, productivity and performance, which are all negatively affected when you do not get enough sleep. One study looked at medical interns with extended work hours of more than 24 hours and found that they made 36% more serious errors compared with interns on a less demanding schedule that allowed them to get more sleep. Further studies have found that sleep deprivation can have some negative effects on brain function in a similar way to alcohol intoxication. On the other hand, getting enough quality sleep has been shown to enhance memory performance and improve problem-solving skills in people of all ages.
Reduce Your Risk of Serious Disease
The amount of sleep that you get and the quality of your sleep can have a significant effect on many major health risk factors, which are linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease or stroke. A review of fifteen studies found that people who do not get enough sleep at night are at a greater risk of developing heart disease or suffering from a stroke compared with people who sleep 7-8 hours a night on a regular basis.
Sleep deprivation can also affect blood sugar and reduces insulin sensitivity, which can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In one study of healthy young men, researchers found that restricting sleep to just four hours per night for six hours in a row led to symptoms of prediabetes, and the symptoms were reversed after just one week of increased sleep duration. People who sleep for less than six hours per night have consistently been shown to be at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Poor Sleep is Linked to Depression
Mental health problems such as depression are strongly linked to sleeping disorders and poor sleep quality. Around 90% of people who suffer with a depressive disorder will also complain about poor sleep quality. And, poor sleep has even been associated with an increased risk of suicide. In addition, people with sleeping disorders such as obstructive sleep apnoea or insomnia tend to be more likely to suffer depressive symptoms than others.
Sleep Strengthens Your Immune System
Even a small loss of sleep can cause problems with your immune function. One large study conducted over the course of two weeks monitored the development of common cold symptoms after participants were given nasal drops containing the cold virus. It found that participants who slept for less than seven hours a night were almost three times more likely to develop a cold compared to people who got eight or more hours of sleep. If you tend to be constantly catching colds, it could be because you’re not getting enough sleep. Making sure that you get at least eight hours of sleep each night can help.
Sleep Affects Inflammation
Sleep can have a huge effect on inflammation in the body. In fact, a lack of sleep is known to activate undesirable markers of cell damage and inflammation. Poor sleep has strong links with long-term digestive tract inflammation and disorders known as inflammatory bowel disease. A study found that patients diagnosed with Crohn’s disease were twice as susceptible to relapse when suffering with sleep deprivation compared to patients who slept well.
Sleep Affects Your Emotions and Social Life
Sleep loss can reduce your ability to regulate your emotions and interact socially. Several studies have confirmed this using emotional facial recognition tests. In one study, it was discovered that people who were suffering from sleep deprivation struggled to recognise expressions of happiness or anger. According to researchers, poor sleep quality or a lack of sleep can have a significant detrimental effect on your ability to process emotional information and recognise important social cues. If you struggle to pick up on social cues or regulate your emotions in conversation with others, it could be because you are not getting enough sleep.
Sleep Can Improve Athletic Performance
If you’ve been working out hard at the gym but don’t appear to be getting the results that you would expect, your sleep – or lack thereof – could be to blame. Sleep has been shown to enhance athletic performance and it’s important to get enough quality sleep at night in order to enjoy maximum results when you exercise. One study of basketball players found that getting more sleep at night led to improved speed, reaction times, and accuracy. On the other hand, a study of older women found that not getting enough sleep can hamper exercise performance and lead to functional limitation.
Reasons Sleep Is Crucial to Your Health
Getting enough sleep at night doesn’t just help you start the day refreshed and energised; it also has several crucial benefits for your overall health.
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