We all know that a good night's sleep is incredibly important. Unfortunately, we don’t all know why it is so important. In fact, it is proven that sleep is just as important at maintaining your body’s balance as healthy eating and regular exercise.
There are a lot of reasons to why our sleeping patterns are interfered with. And nowadays, people are either under sleeping or oversleeping. It is also well-known that our overall quality of sleep has decreased severely in recent times.
So much so that in an effort to shed some light on the importance of sleep in our lives, we’ve put together 10 great reasons that show why sleep deserves your devotion.
1) Poor sleep is linked to higher body weight
A severe and serious fact is, short sleep duration is one of the strongest key risk factors for obesity. People with short sleep duration tend to weigh a significant amount more than those who get adequate sleep.
Respectively, the influence of lifestyle routines can influence this result. An extensive study shows that children and adults who have a short sleeping regime were 89% and 55% more likely to develop obesity. This is due to the hormones and motivation levels surrounding exercise. If you are trying to maintain or lose weight, lifestyle factors that impact sleep are absolutely critical.
Summary: Sleeping for shorter lengths of time than the recommended 7-9hrs, is associated with an increase of weight gain in both children and adults.
2) Good sleepers tend to eat fewer calories
Food regulation and routine have a major impact on the body’s stability of hormone fluctuations. Studies indicate that a sleep-deprived person has a larger appetite than a good sleeper.
This is due to the body sourcing energy elsewhere, such as from proteins. The hormone fluctuations are increased levels of ghrelin, and reduced levels of leptin. These hormones stimulate the appetite.
Summary: Poor sleep affects the hormones that regulate appetite fluctuations. This indicates good sleepers tend to consume fewer calories than those who get less sleep.
3) Good sleep can improve concentration and productivity
The production of concentration, productivity and performance levels are directly affected by sleep. The brains cognitive function is negatively affected by sleep deprivation. A great study focusing on a medical intern’s routine has provided the following example:
On a traditional medical internship, you are expected to work more than 24hrs. This, in turn, resulted in 36% more errors than the students who were allowed more sleep.
This is similar to another study which correlates the effects of alcohol intoxication to sleep deprivation. With both these studies, it is conclusive that good sleep results in improved problem-solving skills and enhances the performance levels of adults and children.
Summary: Poor sleep can be correlated to impaired cognitive function, indicating that good sleep can help enhance problem-solving abilities and alertness.
4) Good sleep can maximize athletic performance
The depth and level of sleep have been shown to enhance or decrease athletic performance. In an example of the fast-paced game of basketball, studied players who slept 7+ hrs per night, had increased speed, agility, accuracy and mental wellbeing in comparison to those who slept for less than 7 hrs per night. Through sleep monitoring, poor exercise performance and function limitations were highlighted.
Summary: Longer sleep increases physical performance and capabilities as well as increasing mental wellbeing.
5) Poor sleepers have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke
A critical health factor to consider when getting enough sleep is that you are lowering your risk of developing a chronic illness. The most common chronic illness developed from sleep deprivation is heart disease. Other major factors are increased chances of a stroke or stroke-like symptoms.
Summary: Sleeping less than the required amount of time can lead to severe health problems such as heart disease or a stroke.
6) Sleep affects glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes risk
A contained US study provided evidence that sleep restriction affects blood sugar regulation and increases an average level of insulin sensitivity. This case isolated healthy young males in restricting them to sleep 4hrs per night over 6 nights. This confirmed in less than a week, prediabetes can be created.
As strongly as this study emphasizes poor sleeping habits with healthy candidates, the general population has also been linked to having adverse effects on blood sugar and minimal sleep. Those sleeping for less than 6hrs per night, have repeatedly shown to be at an increased level of type 2 diabetes.
Summary: Sleep deprivation can cause prediabetes in healthy adults in as little as 6 days. There are strong links between shortening sleep and type 2 diabetes.
7) Poor sleep is linked to depression
Most sleeping disorders are not able to be detected without a test. Mental health issues, such as depression, are strongly linked to the persons sleep quality and patterns. It is estimated as high as 90% of people with depression suffer from low sleep quality. Poor sleep in conjunction with suicide rates is alarming.
It is vitally important to get sleeping tested to ensure mental stability, those with sleeping disorders such as insomnia, or sleep apnoea report higher rates of depression than those without.
Summary: Depression and sleeping disorders are strongly linked to poor sleeping habits.
8) Sleep improves your immune function
Irregular sleeping behaviours are emphasized to impair immune function and defence barriers. To report the immense repercussions of sleep loss and your immune system, a science centre in Britain developed a 2-week study that monitored a cold/flu development after giving people 1 drop with the cold virus. The study uncovered people who slept for less than 7hrs were almost 3 times more likely to develop a cold than those of the study that slept for 8hrs or more.
It is a rule of thumb that if you get a cold, sleeping for more than 8hrs helps to get rid of the cold faster - now we know this is true in preventing colds as well!
Taking supplements containing vitamin C and garlic powder also improves your immune barriers.
Summary: Getting 8hrs of sleep and taking supplements can improve your chances of fending off a cold, or not developing one at all.
9) Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation
Sleep loss is known to activate undesirable hormone makers of inflammation and increase of cell damage. Poor sleep is scientifically linked to long-term inflammation of the digestive system and can, in turn, develop disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.
Another disease impacted by the loss of sleep is Crohn’s disease. Studies show patients with a Crohn’s disease history were twice as likely to relapse than patients who slept well.
Summary: Sleep affects your body’s processing and inflammatory responses. It can lead to serious disease reoccurrences.
10) Sleep affects emotions and social interactions
Lack of sleep affects your ability to socially integrate into society. Emotional fatigue and facial recognition tests find people who hadn’t slept well had reduced ability to recognize the common expressions of happiness and sadness.
It can be determined that your ability to recognize important social cues and process emotional information is severely affected by the loss of sleep.
Summary: Sleep deprivation leads to social integration being affected and emotional expression recognition decreased.
Along with nutrition and exercise, good sleep is a pillar of health that can collapse your normal bodily functions and interactions, if not supported regularly. You can only achieve optimal health with ensuring you have implemented a healthy sleeping balance.