Ten reasons that a good night’s sleep is so important

Whatever your age, getting enough sleep is crucial to your health. Despite this, a large percentage of people get by on less than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Too little sleep can affect how you feel, look, and perform, and yet a lot of us don’t get enough.

Here are ten reasons why getting a good night’s sleep is so important.

1. Less weight gain and easier weight loss

If you don’t get enough sleep, your body will seek out alternative sources of energy, namely food. Eating more can soon lead to weight gain, especially because being tired tends to trigger cravings for sugar and fast-acting carbs.

In addition, sleep deprivation can make losing weight harder than it needs to be. Too little sleep increases the production of the hunger hormones, lowers the production of satiety hormones, reduces your metabolism, and can rob you of motivation to exercise.

2. Improved concentration and productivity

Sleep is crucial for all aspects of brain function. This includes cognition, concentration, productivity, and mental performance. Getting adequate sleep improves things like problem-solving skills, imagination, memory, and creativity in both adults and children. If you want to perform at your best at work or in school, a good night’s sleep is essential.

3. Better athletic performance

A good night’s sleep can boost athletic performance. Whether you are a casual gym-goer or a competitive sports player, getting enough sleep can affect how well you do. Too little sleep harms endurance, power, strength, and speed, as well as reaction time, accuracy, and determination. It will also undermine recovery. If you want to get the most from your workouts or compete at your best, more sleep will help.

4. Lower risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke

Not getting enough sleep significantly increases your risk of poor cardiovascular health. Studies have revealed that people who get less than six hours of sleep per night are considerably more likely to have heart disease or suffer strokes compared to those who clock up 7-8 hours (1).

5. Less risk of prediabetes, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes

Getting less than enough sleep affects how your body deals with glucose, specifically lowering insulin sensitivity, which leads to elevated blood glucose levels (2). Poorly managed blood glucose can cause a host of serious medical problems, not least weight gain, and type 2 diabetes.

Getting enough sleep after periods of sleep deprivation can help resolve elevated blood glucose in non-diabetic patients, reducing the risk of developing prediabetes and metabolic syndrome.

6. Improved immune system function

Sleep deprivation can have a devastating effect on your immune system. This can increase the frequency and duration of minor illnesses, such as the common cold. If you suffer from frequent illnesses, getting enough sleep can improve your immune system function so that you are ill less often and for less time.

7. Better mental health

Getting enough sleep can improve all aspects of your mental health. Insufficient sleep can lead to depression, anxiety, and stress. Getting more rest can make these problems less impactful. Getting more sleep can also lead to easier social interactions. People who are sleep deprived often have difficulty recognizing facial expressions and interpreting emotions in others (3). Fulfilling social interactions can lead to better mental health.

8. Reduced inflammation

Too little sleep can cause systemic inflammation. That is inflammation throughout your body. Inflammation is a significant symptom and cause of many diseases, including heart disease, IBS, and Chron’s disease, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, sinusitis, and cancer. Getting more sleep can reduce inflammation and pain in individuals with long-term inflammatory problems and reduce the chances of reoccurrence.

9. Healthier brain tissue

The human brain is a fascinating organ. Yet, after centuries of study, many of its workings are still a mystery. However, one thing we do know is that, when you sleep, your body gets busy restoring and repairing your brain for optimal function and health. In fact, while you sleep, your brain is flushed with cerebrospinal fluid, which is thought to cleanse your brain of waste products such as beta-amyloid plaque. This substance is implicated in the development of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

10. longer life span

Sleep can have a significant impact on lifespan. Studies suggest that habitually sleeping less than six hours per night increases the risk of premature death by 12% (4). While getting enough sleep is crucial for longevity, you can have too much of a good thing. People who regularly sleep more than nine hours per night are 30% more likely to die prematurely. This suggests that most people should aim to get eight hours of sleep per night.

Conclusion

Of all the things you can do your health, getting enough sleep is arguably one of the most enjoyable. After all, you just need to close your eyes and relax! However, despite this, and the obvious importance of getting enough sleep, over a third of adults don’t get enough. If you want to live longer and live better, try to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. It’s not always easy to get enough sleep, but your efforts will be rewarded.

References:

1. PubMed: Sleep duration predicts cardiovascular outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21300732

2. PubMed: Prolonged Sleep Restriction Affects Glucose Metabolism in Healthy Young Men

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2857625/

3. PubMed: Sleep deprivation impairs the accurate recognition of human emotions

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20337191

4. NHS.co.uk: Lifespan linked to sleep

https://www.nhs.uk/news/lifestyle-and-exercise/lifespan-linked-to-sleep/

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