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The Top 5 Reasons Why You Need Enough Sleep

As you know, a nutritional diet and regular exercise are very important for health, but you might be surprised to hear that a good night of sleep is equally as important for your health. Unfortunately, due to everyone’s busy lives and schedules, fewer and fewer people are getting their full 7-8 hours. Before you catch some more sleep, here are 5 reasons why sleep is important for your health:

1. Sleep improves memory, concentration, and productivity

One reason why sleep is important for your health is that it helps to improve your brain health! A good night’s rest can help maximize concentration, problem-solving skills, and productivity; Poor sleep has been shown to impair brain function. Fun fact, a short night of sleep impacts some parts of your brain just as much as some degrees of alcohol intoxication.

Research suggests that sleep helps learning and memory in two distinct ways. First, a sleep-deprived person cannot focus attention optimally and therefore cannot learn efficiently. Second, sleep itself has a role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information.

2. Sleep may help you lose weight

Unfortunately, those who sleep fewer hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese. A good night of sleep is essential for proper weight maintenance as a lack of sleep has been shown to disrupt the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones. Thus, when you are sleep-deprived you are prone to having a bigger appetite and eating more calories from high-fat and high-sugar foods.

Consequently, increased food intake due to changes in appetite hormones may result in weight gain. This means that, in the long term, sleep deprivation may lead to weight gain due to these changes in appetite. So getting a good night’s sleep should be prioritized.

Along with changes in appetite hormones, reduced sleep has also been shown to impact food selection and the way our brains perceive food. Researchers have found that the areas of the brain responsible for reward are more active in response to food after sleep loss (6 nights of only 4 hours of sleep) when compared to people who had good sleep (6 nights of 9 hours of sleep).

This could explain why sleep-deprived people snack more often and tend to choose carb-rich and sweet foods, compared to those who get enough sleep.

3. Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke

Sleep allows for the healing and repair of the heart and blood vessels. Prolonged sleep deprivation increases blood pressure, heart rate, and the chance of heart disease.

Heart attacks and strokes are more likely to occur during the early morning hours, which may be due to the way sleep interacts with the blood vessels. Your heart will thank you if you get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.

4. Sleep reduces stress levels

When our body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body’s functions are then put on high alert, which hand-in-hand causes high blood pressure and the production of stress hormones.

Sleep decreases cortisol levels. Cortisol is responsible for your fight or flight reaction to danger, increasing your heart rate in an anticipation of a fight. Poor sleep may also negatively affect the sympathetic nervous system, resulting in increased cortisol levels — a hormone related to stress.

5. It can boost immune function

By getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, you can improve your immune function and help fight the common cold. In fact, people who sleep less than 7 hours per night are nearly 3 times more likely to develop a cold than those who sleep 8 hours or more!

Your immune system relies on sleep to work effectively, so a prolonged lack of sleep can disrupt your immune system leaving you open to common sicknesses.

About House of Sweat

Not only is adequate sleep important for your health and weight loss, but nutrition and exercise are just as important. At House of Sweat, we have personalized meal plans and personal trainers in many cities in the GTA.

Study site sourced by The Conversation, MACS Pharmacy, and Tylenol.

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