Nov 23, 2012
Sleep Your Way To Better Health: 6 Reasons To Get More Sleep Each Night
posted on Apr 10, 2013
Most of us would like to get more sleep. We feel better, look better, and have more patience. The problem is that time is limited. There's so much to do and so little time to do it that sneaking in an extra hour of slumber each night is hard to justify.
But what if you're depriving yourself of more than just a good night's rest? What if you're actually doing yourself long-term harm by neglecting to get the sleep you need? The problem is serious enough that the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) have labeled insufficient sleep as a public health epidemic.
With that in mind, it's worth taking a closer look at the virtues of shuteye, and the reasons to get more of it. After reading the following, you may have a great excuse for getting up a little later in the morning.
#1- Less Inflammation
Sleep has been known to reduce the level of inflammation in the body. Under normal circumstances, inflammation is triggered by a response from the immune system. Such a response can be caused by numerous factors, including disease and infections. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than six hours a night are more susceptible to disease, and thus more likely to experience inflammation.
#2 - Better Memory
While you sleep, your brain creates connections between events experienced and data gathered throughout the day. These connections help to form memories that are archived for later use. They can be retrieved when when needed - that is, assuming you have enjoyed enough sleep for the memories to have formed properly in the first place. This is a process known as memory consolidation.
People who receive too little sleep often cope with a less-than-perfect memory. Experts suspect this is because the brain hasn't had sufficient time to form the right connections. If you're plagued with forgetfulness, getting a few more winks each night may be the solution.
#3 - Better Focus
Are you having trouble paying attention in meetings? Do you find your mind wandering when other people are speaking to you? The problem may be that you need more sleep.
A wide body of research has been published examining how inadequate sleep impairs a person's concentration. The effect is consistent across both genders and all age groups. In short, the less sleep you receive each night, the more trouble you'll have focusing the following day. The effect is even more pronounced over long periods.
If you want to improve your ability to concentrate, go to bed earlier or get up later. Better yet, do both.
#4 - Lose Weight
Could getting more shuteye each night actually result in a healthier weight? Scientists claim it can. The reason involves the levels of certain hormones in the body when a person sleeps, and what happens to those levels when sleep is interrupted.
Two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, play key roles in regulating a person's appetite. Low levels of leptin have been associated with binge eating and obesity. High levels of ghrelin have been associated with similar outcomes. During sleep, the levels of leptin and ghrelin are in balance, and thus the person's appetite is held in check. When sleep is interrupted, the level of leptin drops and the level of ghrelin rises. Over time, this results in a bigger appetite and weight gain.
If you're carrying a few extra pounds and can't seem to say no to food, consider getting a little more sleep each night.
#5 - Reduce Stress
When we get too little sleep, the small annoyances that occur throughout the day start to wear on our nerves. This causes our stress levels to rise, which in turn increases our blood pressure. Before long, we're nursing a headache, snapping at our coworkers, and snarling at the family dog.
You can significantly reduce the level of stress you feel by sleeping more each night. You'll be able to better tolerate the small issues that crop up during the day. As a bonus, you'll also reduce the likelihood of experiencing a stroke or heart attack.
#6 - Improved Mood
Although enjoying a good night's rest doesn't guarantee you'll be in a good mood the following day, it certainly doesn't hurt your chances. Researchers have shown that a lack of sleep contributes to depression. Moreover, we've all witnessed the temperamental antics of the habitually sleep-deprived friends and loved ones in our lives.
If you're in a foul mood, try taking a nap. Give your mind a rest. Then, go to sleep earlier this evening to give yourself a fresh start tomorrow.
Sadly, we can't just sleep our way to good health. We also need to eat the right foods and give our bodies plenty of routine exercise. But getting sufficient sleep can go a long way toward avoiding problems that might otherwise make it difficult to lead a rewarding life.
Some information suggested by: Balmy Beach Community Day Care Centre