Getting a good night's sleep does more than just help you not be cranky the next day. It is actually vital for your health and provides you with innumerable benefits. It's just as important as other health advice such as exercising and eating right.
The average number of hours of sleep required for each individual is anywhere from 7-9 hours. However, over a third of the adults in the United States are not getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can put you at high risk mentally, physically and emotionally. Here are 9 benefits of getting more sleep!
Better Weight Control
There are many studies that show the relationship between less than 7 hours of sleep and an increase in weight gain and higher body mass index. This difference could be has high as a 41% increased risk in gaining weight in those who slept less than 7 hours compared to those who didn't.
One reason may be due to hormones. Sleep deprivation can increase the amount of ghrelin, which is a hormone that makes you feel hungry. Leptin, on the other hand is the hormone that makes you feel full. This increases your risk for feeling hungrier and overeating.
It also doesn't help that after a night of poor sleep, you may feel less motivated to go to the gym and workout. This can also lead to increased weight as physical activity is very important for decreasing the amount of weight gain.
Increased Concentration and Productivity
When you don't get enough sleep, your cognitive function drops significantly. In fact, a study with physicians found that those who were sleep deprived were more likely to make clinically significant medical errors.
Getting enough sleep is essential for academic and work performance as well.
Improved Athletic Performance
If you are an athlete, or simply an exercise aficionado, then it is vital for you to get enough sleep. Improved sleep can increase fine motor skills, reaction time, muscular power and endurance, and problem-solving skills.
A lack of sleep can also increase your risk for injury and make recovery take longer.
Improved Heart Health
Getting poor sleep, or short amounts, may increase your risk for developing heart disease. Sleeping less than 7 hours a night can increase your risk by 13%. One study showed that with each additional hour of sleep deprivation, your risk increased by 6%.
Short sleep can also raise your risk for high blood pressure. Cortisol, a stress hormone in your body, normally drops during the night. This lowers your blood pressure. However, if you're not sleeping, then you are not going to be able to get that drop, leading to chronically elevated blood pressure.
Better Metabolic and Sugar Control
Less sleep equals more insulin resistance and blood sugar. Insulin resistance is the process of your body being unable to properly use the hormone, which limits the cells' ability to utilize the sugar in the blood.
Those who sleep less than 5 hours of sleep a night increased their risk by 48% of developing type 2 diabetes. This may be due to the fact that decreased sleep lowers insulin sensitivity, increases inflammation, and changes hormone control. Also, the behavioral aspect of making good food decisions is at risk when one is sleep deprived.
Mental health issues like depression have a strong relationship with sleep. In fact this relationship is often bidirectional where the worsening or improvement of one affects the other.
One study found that those with anxiety and depression were more likely to report poorer sleep than those without. Also, other studies who that those with sleep disorders, like insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea, also report higher rates of depression than those without.
Healthier Immune system
A lack of sleep can leave you more susceptible to illnesses and getting sick. Without sleep, your immune system does not operate at its highest efficiency. In fact, one study showed that those who slept less than 5 hours a night were 4.5 times more likely to develop a cold compared to those who logged more than 7 hours a night.
Inflammation is a part of your body's immune response. It creates a hostile environment that destroys potential pathogens that could make you ill. The issue with inflammation is that when it is too robust of a response, it starts to become damaging to non-pathogenic tissue. This can create autoimmune diseases and inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
Sleep loss is known to activate inflammatory signaling pathways and lead to higher levels of inflammatory markers like interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein.
Chronic inflammation is inflammation that happens over time, and can lead to the development of chronic conditions like obesity, heart disease, and certains types of cancers, among other diseases.
Improved Emotion Regulation and Social Interactions
When you are sleep deprived, your ability to regulate your emotions and have beneficial social interactions goes down. It's harder to control your emotions when you haven't slept long enough. When you are tired, you are also less likely to participate in social events, and experience isolation and loneliness.
Prioritizing your sleep is a way to improve your relationships with others and help you become more social.
If you are concerned about you ability to get a good night's rest, please click the orange button below to take a free online sleep test.