Could it really be as simple as sleep more, become a healthier you? We know that sleep-deprivation leads to dangerous risks, but often times we forget that sleep has many positive benefits. It won’t cure cancer or save you from a heart attack, but getting enough quality shut-eye may be exactly what you need to greatly decrease the odds of facing a number of health concerns.
Sleep can improve:
Weight Gain. Getting the proper amount of sleep means that our bodies won’t rely our extra calories for extra energy. Studies have found that children who sleep more consume fewer calories, and adults who receive the proper amount of sleep choose smaller portion sizes than their sleep-deprived peers.
Smarter food choices can also be linked to sleep. One small study found that after a night of too little sleep, people were more likely to crave high-calorie snacks and junk food, compared to when they were well-rested.
Keeping a consistent sleep-wake schedule has even been linked with having lower body fat. A recent study found that healthy women who alerted their sleep-wake times less than 60 minutes and slept between 8-8.5 hours each night has the lowest body fat.
Diabetes Risk. Sleep-deprivation, which increases our cravings for sugary, fatty foods may be link a frightening risk, Type 2 diabetes. A 2012 found that regularly getting too little sleep significantly hinders how fat cells respond to insulin. After 4 nights of sleep deprivation, the participants’ overall insulin sensitivity had dropped 16 %, and their fat cells’ insulin sensitivity had dropped by 30%, placing them in a range typically seen in people who are obese or who have diabetes.
Slipping Memory. When we cut back the number of hours we sleep, we limit the amount of time spent in one the most fascinating stages of sleep, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Our brains cycle in and out of REM sleep throughout the night, with the longest period of REM sleep occurring closer to wake-up time. REM sleep is the phase that is most closely linked to improved learning and memory. Even taking a quick nap is shown to have a positive effect on memory, learning focus and alertness.
Frequent Colds. Instead of only focusing on loading up on vitamin C to protect yourself from illness, consider getting more sleep. According to a 2009 study, people who sleep 8 hours or more are almost 3 times less likely to catch a cold, compared to those who sleep less than 7 hours each night.
Stroke Risk. It isn’t as simple as sleep more, avoid a stroke but, a 2012 study did find that people who regularly slept less than 6 hours a night have 4 times the risk of having stroke symptoms, even among those who aren’t overweight and who have no history of stroke.
Cancer Risk. Numerous studies have identified a complex relationship between sleep and cancer. A 2010 study found that among people screened for colorectal cancer, those who were diagnosed were more likely to average fewer 6 six hours of sleep a night. And a 2012 study found that women with breast cancer who got 6 or fewer hours of sleep a night seem to have an increased risk of recurrence and more aggressive cancers.
Make you sure you are getting the 7 to 9 hours of sleep your body needs every night, along with a proper diet and exercise. With the optimal performance level results, you’ll be more productive, approachable, and optimistic. What a great way to start off every morning!