Fit Sunday: 10 reasons why sleep is so important

In All, Fit Sunday, lifestyle by Coraline0 Comments

We got it, you are really busy. You have a lot of work to do, places to go, people to see . Add to this your personal time and there is not enough hours in a day to fit it all in. So what do you do? You cut on sleep. Isn’t it what busy and successful people do? We all have this friend, bragging on how little he sleeps and how well he feels. So how bad can it be? Just 30 minutes less and I can fit my morning run in before going to work.

As tempting as this sounds, cutting on sleep is a really bad idea.  Remember this friend who is convinced that he is some sort of super hero functioning on really little sleep. Well the truth is, he would probably be a better, nicer, smarter and more successful human if he spent more time with the sandman.

Check out these 10 eye-opening reasons why you cannot afford to cut down on sleep:

1. Poor sleepers have a greater risk of heart disease:

Research suggest that sleeping too little might increase your risk of coronary heart disease. The ideal night should last between 7 and 8 hours, according to researchers. It is also interesting to mention that whilst sleeping too little isn’t good for you, it is also suggested that sleeping too much might also be harmful. So stick to the recommended 7 to 8 hours and you should be fine!

2. Sleep improves brain power:

In a study published in the current issue (June 2015) of the journal Sleep, scientists found that lack of sleep had a negative effect on decision making, especially under uncertainly and unexpected change. In other words, you are more likely to make bad decisions when tired.

Sleep is also linked to memory retention and consolidation. It doesn’t matter how hard you study or how much you learn, it is unlikely to stick around for long if you don’t get a good night sleep.

3.  Sleep keeps your weight in check:

Think of it, you are tired following a short night and all you want to do is reach out to this extra cup of coffee, cake or other high glucose/high carbs snacks which will keep you going.

As Dr Dennis Rosen puts it:

“[…] insufficient sleep is well known to affect the secretion of certain hormones called ghrelin and leptin, which govern both the sensation of hunger and of feeling full. When this is disrupted, we tend to eat more, and feel less full when we do.”

Long story short more ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain. Lack of sleep has also been linked to increased stress which in turns promote weight gain. Snooze to loose seems to be the way to go!

4.  Sleep boosts your immune system:

Sleep is known to boost your immune system. I don’t know about you but time and time again this has proven true for me when ill. I often cure a flu by simply…sleeping.

As a matter of fact your immune system influences sleep but is, in return, also influenced by it

During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokine. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. So keep your sleeping pattern regular to boost your immune system.

5. Lack of sleep kills sex drive:

A recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine revealed that women who get one more hour of sleep per night increase their sex drive by around 14%. I guess it makes sense to think that your sex drive will be greater when fully rested. Sleep deprived individuals are indeed more likely to crave sleep than sex when going to bed. So get some sleep now in order to maintain a healthy sex life!

6. Sleep can improve your athletic performance:

Sleep is well known to be indispensable to muscle recovery. Natural growth hormone is released during sleep, helping your body to recover. In simple terms, sleeping allows for your body to replace, rebuild and regenerate – all of which are essential parts of your fitness progress.

7. Beauty sleep is not a myth:

We all know of the dreadful dark circles.

“Lack of sleep causes blood vessels to dilate, causing the look of dark circles,” says dermatologist Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco.

Lack of sleep does not only have an impact on our eyes, it also affect the quality of our skin. Cut out on your sleeping time and your skin will most certainly look dull. When you sleep , your body releases out human growth hormone , a necessary ingredient for collagen production.

8. Sleep has a positive effect on your mood and social interactions:

We all had that feeling of “getting up in the wrong side of the bed”. Sleepless nights can leave you grumpy and irritable. We may be snappy and rude even with the one we care about the most. As such, lack of sleep can cause serious strains on our personal and professional relationships. In short when tired you are likely to feel bad, snap at others and feel even worse as a result.

9. Sleep can help reduce stress:

Sleep and stress are closely linked. Be too stressed and you probably won’t be able to sleep. On the other hand, a good night sleep can help reduce stress and allow you to wake up relaxed and in a good state of mind. It is really important to get a good night sleep especially when stressed. This can be more difficult than it sounds. Indeed if you are stressed because of a looming deadline you might be inclined to pull an all nighter in order to get the work done. This is not a good idea as you probably will produce low quality work. Sleep is the time when your brain processes thoughts. This is the reason why you might wake up with answers to questions that seems unanswerable yesterday. So try to get even more shut out time when stressed. Reading a book or having a infusion before bed might help induce sleep.

10. Sleep helps you be more creative:

Psychology research have shown that we might be at our most creative state first thing in the morning, whist our mind is still emerging from the realm of sleep. Dreams are an integral part of sleep. You may not remember them but they are the product of your unconscious mind and might enhance creativity. Most of them can be weird but that does not mean that they are meaningless. So wake up and write, do, perform as if you were dreaming. The results will maybe be weird but isn’t that the essence of awesomeness?

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