A good night’s sleep is just as important to your health as dieting and exercising. Unfortunately, there is a lot that can interfere with natural sleep patterns and quality. Here are 10 reasons why good sleep is so important.
1. Poor sleep is linked to higher body weight.
Adults that do not get enough sleep tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate sleep. In fact, short sleep duration is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity. The effect of sleep on weight gain is believed to be mediated by hormones and motivation to exercise. If you’re trying to lose weight, getting quality sleep is crucial.
2. Good sleepers tend to eat fewer calories.
Sleep deprivation disrupts the daily fluctuation in appetite hormones and is believed to cause poor appetite regulation.
3. Good sleep can improve concentration and productivity.
Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function, including cognition, concentration, productivity, and performance. Good sleep improves problem-solving skills and enhances memory performance in both children and adults.
4. Good sleep can maximize athletic performance.
Longer sleep is shown to significantly improve speed, accuracy, reaction times, and mental well-being – just a few aspects of athletic and physical performance.
5. Poor sleepers have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke.
Sleep quality and duration can have a major effect on many health risk factors such as an increased risk of chronic diseases. For example, sleeping less than 7-8 hours per night is linked to a heightened possibility of heart disease and stroke.
6. Sleep affects glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes risk.
Poor sleep habits are strongly linked to adverse effects on blood sugar in the general population. Those sleeping less than 6 hours per night have repeatedly been shown to be at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
7. Poor sleep is linked to depression.
Mental health issues, like depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders. Those with sleeping disorders like insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea also report significantly higher rates of depression than those without.
8. Sleep improves your immune function.
Even a small loss of sleep has been shown to impair immune function. Those who sleep less than 7 hours a night are 3 times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more.
9. Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation.
Sleep loss is known to activate undesirable markers of inflammation and cell damage. In fact, poor sleep has been strongly linked to long-term inflammation of the digestive tract, in disorders knows as inflammatory bowel disease.
10. Sleep affects emotions and social interactions.
Researchers believe that poor sleep affects the ability to recognize important social cues and process emotional information.
The bottom line… along with nutrition and exercise, good sleep is one of the pillars of health. You simply cannot achieve optimal health without taking care of your sleep.