5 Benefits Of Sleep
Sleeping makes you feel energetic, alert, and focused. But getting that restful shuteye has never been on our number one list.
According to a survey, 32.6% of working adults reported sleeping 6 or fewer hours a night. While many active duty service members, doctors, nurses, and factory workers are getting just a couple of hours of sleep. Even around a quarter of adolescents and Australian children don’t sleep long enough.
But, to keep the body and mind healthy, you need all the sleep you can get. For adults, it’s best to get 7 to 8 hours of great quality sleep. The question is, what makes sleep such a valuable addition to overall health? Can it help with the weight loss journey? We prepared the ultimate guide that will answer all your queries. Here’s what sleep can do for your health.
What Makes Sleep So Necessary?
Countless studies have shown the importance of getting enough sleep. Based on 2015 research, those who struggle with sleep deficiency are more vulnerable to developing serious health complications. Such as kidney disease, heart problems, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
Experts are certain sleep contributes to numerous functions. For example, mood, cognition, and attention. With enough sleep, people can think clearly, be more vigilant, and maintain their attention. It also plays a valuable role in emotional regulation.
Unfortunately, sleep-deprived people often have negative moods. They are sad, frustrated, and irritable. And sleeplessness can lead to mood disorders, like anxiety and depression. But, to really understand the impact of sleep, you must take a look at its benefits.
5 Benefits of a Good Shuteye
Sleep is a distinctive state of consciousness. It doesn’t provide complete awareness. However, your brain works at full steam. When you are awake, the activity in the brain is controlled by beta waves, which are low-intensity and high-frequency waves.
As the body relaxes, the brain activity changes, and the waves become more consistent and less frequent. These are the alpha waves, and they signalize that the body is dozing off and slipping into actual sleep.
The problem is, many people prefer to stay awake instead of getting the rest their body deserves. They are stressed, depressed, or have poor sleeping habits. But, this long-ingrained behaviour is taking a toll on their physical and emotional health. Here are the five key reasons that will inspire you to start working on your sleeping routine.
1. Poor Sleep Will Make You Pack on a Few Extra Pounds
Sleep is like nutrition for the central nervous system. When the body is sleep-deprived, it will react in ways that will lead even the most dedicated dieter astray. The lack of sleep spikes cortisol levels. This hormone signals the body to start saving the energy to power up your waking hours. In other words, your body keeps hanging on to that extra fat.
According to studies, when dieters don’t get enough shuteye for more than 14 days, the amount of weight they lose from fat reduces by 55%. However, their calories don’t change. Their energy gets drained, and they feel very hungry and unsatisfied with their meals.
What most people don’t realise is that sleep deprivation has a drastic impact on their metabolism. In just 4 days of lack of sleep, the body becomes unable to process the insulin. In fact, peoples’ insulin sensitivity reduces by over 30%.
What does that have to do with weight loss? Well, when the system can’t respond to insulin, it becomes difficult to process the fats in the bloodstream. As a result, the insulin gets stored as fat. Because of the sleep deficiency, the entire metabolism goes awry and causes weight gain.
2. Good Sleep Gives You Motivation to Exercise
Exercise and physical performance quickly decline if a person doesn’t get enough sleep. According to a small-scale study, just one night of sleep deprivation is enough to reduce your treadmill performance and endurance.
Volunteers covered almost 3% less distance on no sleep than they did when properly rested. Poor sleep can limit their muscle strength and movements while training. One of the primary reasons is the psychological and physiological changes.
Sleep deprivation puts a strain on the cardiovascular system and muscles. It basically makes the physical activity feel much harder, so the body gets tired sooner. When paired with poor performance, and endurance, it becomes very easy for people to lose their motivation.
Based on research, people who get restorative sleep are more likely to finish their exercise session compared to those who didn’t receive proper shuteye. The longer the body is sleep-deprived, the harder it is for the system to recover after a heavy workout, making exercising sessions more difficult to handle.
3. Sleep Deprivation Forces You to Eat More Calories
Sleep-deprived individuals often need to consume more calories to replenish their energy. But, they also have a larger appetite. When a person doesn’t get enough rest, their bodies go through a series of changes. The appetite hormones are one of these changes.
Experts believe the disruption of sleeping patterns causes poor appetite control. It triggers the release of ghrelin, which is a hormone that makes us feel hungrier and causes a decrease in leptin levels, a key appetite suppressant. The lack of sleep and uncontrolled appetite changes can cause obesity.
With sleep loss, these hormone fluctuations are linked with increased BMI (body mass index). Alterations such as these have been hypothesised to contribute to weight gain and obesity. This can be a serious problem for people with metabolic disease.
4. Good Sleep Protects the Heart
Sleep is a key component of a healthy cardiovascular system. Good sleep reduces the work of the heart as the heart rate and blood pressure recede at night. Sleep deprivation, however, affects this heart rate variability, which hinders heart function.
The heart rate remains very high and makes you feel stressed. Over time, this deprivation can damage your heart health. According to the CDC, sleep conditions like insomnia and sleep apnea can have a serious impact on your cardiovascular system.
Some studies estimate that 10% to 30% of adults are struggling with chronic insomnia. The rates are higher among the older population. In fact, insomnia is present in 30% to 48% of older people. Insomnia causes increased blood pressure and a possible risk for heart complications. The longer it remains unmanaged, especially when paired with unhealthy habits, it can significantly damage the heart.
Sleep apnea is also a problem. From 2% to 9% of American adults have obstructive sleep apnea. This is a condition that forces the system to stop breathing for a short amount of time during sleep. This illness is associated with numerous health complications. It can elevate the risk of stroke, heart attack, and increased blood pressure.
5. Insufficient Sleep Affects Immune Function
If you don’t get enough quality sleep, you are more likely to get sick after getting exposed to a pathogen or virus. Sleep deprivation also affects the speed of your recovery after getting sleep.
Studies show that the immune system releases cytokines (a protein) that help with sleep. The number of specific proteins has to increase when the body experiences inflammation, infection, or stress. Depriving the system of sleep reduces the release of these proteins, making it harder for the immune system to function properly.
As a result, the number of cells and protective antibodies steadily decreases when the body doesn’t get quality sleep. Simply put, sleeping helps the system fight off infectious illnesses and keeps the body healthy.
What Should I Do to Sleep Better?
- Maintain a daily sleeping schedule. Make sure to go to bed every night and wake up every morning at the same time. That means the weekends as well.
- Adjust the light in the room. Turn off the lights to provide the eyes with a comfortable and relaxing environment.
- Be active during the day. Exercising can help you spend your energy. So that whenever you want to sleep, you can have an easier time dozing off.
- Avoid caffeine, sugar, and alcohol before bed. Options such as these can keep the brain up and running during the night. That’s why it is important to avoid them as much as possible.
- Consult with a healthcare professional. If you are experiencing an underlying health issue, like insomnia or sleep apnea, it is best to work it out with your health care team. They will help you find these obstacles and manage your medical condition.
Together with a healthy diet and physical activity, sleep is one of the crucial pillars of health. Without it, you can’t expect to achieve your weight loss goals or make the most of your exercise. As you can see, sleep is more than just a simple rest. It benefits the body in a range of different ways.
When you take care of your sleep, you also manage your physical and psychological well-being. Now that you know the real merit of a good shuteye, you may finally want to work on your lack of zzz’s. What kind of sleeping pattern do you have? Do you get enough sleep? We would love to know what you think. Share your thoughts in the comments below!