There are a number of health benefits of sleep. Sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle that benefits your weight, mind, heart and more.
If you sleep well, you can certainly reap the benefits that sleep provides for your health. Many things we take for granted are affected by sleep. The importance of adequate sleep goes way beyond banishing under-eye circles or simply boosting your mood.
Here are 10 good reasons to get a good nights sleep!
1. Weight Loss
Thinking about loosing weight? Plan for an earlier bedtime so that you get plenty of sleep that will help with your weight loss. Research by the University of Chicago highlighted that dieters who slept well lost more fat than sleep deprived dieters who lost muscle mass.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your appetite and hunger increases, making it difficult to stick to your diet plan. Metabolism and sleep are controlled by the same sectors within the brain. When you are sleep deprived, hormones increase in your brain that drive your appetite.
For successful weight loss, make sure you get enough sleep!
2. More Attractive
There is truth in the saying ‘getting your beauty sleep’. A good night of sleep ensures that you look more attractive and healthier. A study conducted in 2010 investigated whether sleep deprived people were perceived to be less attractive and less healthy than people who have had 8 hours sleep in a night.
Researchers photographed 23 adults following an 8 hour sleep and after sleep deprivation. The photographs were presented in random order to untrained observers who provided their perception of the person in the photograph from the perspective of attractiveness and health.
The results showed that sleep deprived people do appear to look less attractive and are perceived to be less healthy by others. To look great, you need your beauty sleep!
3. Good Mood
When you do not get enough sleep, you are often tired and irritable the next day. Whilst adults are irritable from lack of sleep, children react differently from lack of sleep. A 2009 study in the Journal of Paediatrics found that children between the ages of 7 and 8 who averaged less than 8 hours of sleep a night where hyperactive, inattentive and impulsive during the day, negatively impacting their performance at school. It is important for the whole family to get a good night of sleep!
4. Less Accident Prone
Sleep loss is a public safety hazard. Studies have shown that sleep loss and poor quality sleep leads increased accidents within the workplace and on the road. Some of the biggest disasters in recent history such as the Exxon oil spill, the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown and the Three Mile Island nuclear incident were caused by workers being effected by sleep deprivation.
Furthermore, poor sleep for just one night can be as detrimental to your driving ability as having an alcoholic drink. Lack of sleep affects your reaction times and decision making. Driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of road crashes.
The Queensland Police Driver Fact Sheet states that “A driver who has been awake for 17 hours has a driving ability similar to that of a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05, and after 21 hours, similar to a BAC of 0.15”. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night minimises your risk of accidents within the workplace or on the road.
5. Better Problem Solving
Even while your sleeping, studies have shown that your brain still seeks a solution to a problem. During sleep, your brain consolidates memories, reorganising and restructuring them. Even if you do not have the answer to a problem when you wake in the morning, your brain is better equipped to assess the problem logically.
Harvard and Boston College researchers also found that the brains process of restructuring and reorganising memories results in more creativity as well. Go ahead, sleep on a problem! You may find you can solve the problem quicker by taking a well earned rest!
6. Longer Life
It is recommended that everyone has 8 hours of sleep each night.
Studies have shown that if people slept more than 8 hours per night and less than 7 hours per night, they had an increased risk of death. For example, women who sleep less than 7 hours per night increased the risk of early death by 21%.
Men who slept less than 7 hours increased their risk of early death 26%. Oversleeping or sleeping more than 8 hours a night decreased the risk of an early death to 17% for women and 24% for men.
Changes from a stable sleeping pattern to a short or long sleep is usually an early indication of a health issue that needs to be addressed to ensure a long and healthy life.
7. Improved Athletic Performance
Sleep helps your body repair. This is the reason why athletes need extra sleep to improve athletic performance. Studies of swimmers, footballers, tennis players and basket ballers have highlighted that adding an extra two hours sleep each day improved speed, reaction time and overall well being. If you are an athlete, ensure that you get extra sleep to improve your performance.
8. Keep Healthy
Your immune system is negatively affected by lack of sleep, making you more vulnerable to infections. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation decreases the T-cells in your body. A decrease in T-cells suppresses your bodies natural immunity to viruses such as colds and flus.
A study in 2009 found that sleeping less than 7 hours per night increased the trebled the risk of catching a cold. To stay healthy during cold and flu season, ensure that you get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.
9. Better Memory
Sleep improves your memory. Students that spend all night cramming for an exam usually find that the fact and figures they knew at 2am could not be recalled the next day during the exam. The inability to recall is caused by lack of sleep. Sleep is necessary to allow the brain to consolidate memories and learning so that it can be recalled in the future.
10. Curb Inflammation
Inflammation within the body is linked to contributing to diabetes, premature aging, heart disease and stroke. Studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived have high blood levels of inflammatory proteins in the body.
This increases their risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Always ensure that you have atleast 8 hours of sleep a night to reduce your risk of major health problems.
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