Research shows that lack of sleep could lead to disease in the long run. This is why you need a good night’s rest.
Getting sufficient sleep is a big boost for your health and wellbeing, mainly because it gives the cells in our body the chance to repair themselves. According to sleep and health researcher Prof Colin Smith of the University of Surrey, “If lack of sleep means we can’t replenish and replace these new cells, it’s going to lead to disease in the long run.”
Sleep Well To Lose Weight
One large review of sleep studies found that those who get less than six hours of sleep a night had up to a 90% higher risk of obesity than those who slept 7-8 hours. Sleepdeprived people feel hungrier and eat more calories over the course of the day, at least partly due to an increase in the so-called ‘hunger hormone’ ghrelin and a reduction in leptin, the hormone that tells us when we feel full.
Boost brain power
Not sleeping properly has a negative effect on almost every brain function — from concentration, to memory to overall performance — and can reduce a person’s mental capacity as much as being drunk can. Good sleep has been shown to improve problem-solving skills for both, children and adults, and also lowers the risk of dementia in older people.
Keep your heart healthy
Sleeping fewer than seven hours a night is linked to an increased likelihood of heart disease and stroke as it encourages the three main risk factors for heart disease — obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. One study found a single night of inadequate sleep in people who suffered high blood pressure caused it to be elevated for the whole of the next day.
Have a good sex life
Sleep-deprived men and women report lower sex drives and a lack of energy, tiredness, and increased stress levels may be largely to blame. One study in 2002 found that many men with sleep apnoea — a respiratory problem that interrupts sleep — also had low testosterone levels.
Reduce diabetes risk
Many studies show a strong link between shorter sleep patterns and type-2 diabetes, with adults who report sleeping less than six hours a night having a greatly increased risk of developing it. And, amazingly, going without shut-eye even just for a few days can also trigger pre-diabetes (a high blood sugar condition that can, potentially, turn into diabetes over time) in healthy adults.
Mental health conditions, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders, with each issue exacerbating the other. Around 90% of patients with depression report not getting enough sleep. Likewise, people who suffer from sleeping disorders for many years, such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnoea, endure significantly higher rates of depression. Even more worryingly, lack of sleep is also associated with an increased risk of committing suicide.
Have a strong immune system
We need plenty of sleep to keep our immune system functioning at peak level. And even a small loss of sleep has been shown to weaken this. One large study monitored the development of the common cold and found that people who slept less than seven hours were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept for eight hours or more.
Prolonged sleep loss can seriously speed up the ageing process, according to skin scientists.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen — the protein that keeps skin plump and elastic.
Sleep loss also causes the body to release less human growth hormone — the so-called “youth” hormone — which repairs tissues overnight and is vital for healthy skin.
Restless legs kept me awake at night
Rebecca Miedzwiedz, 33, a nurse married to Rafal, 37 and mother to three young sons, says, “I’ve suffered from restless leg syndrome (RLS) for almost a decade and it’s had a terrible impact on my life. I would get crawling sensations in my legs, painful cramps and an irresistible urge to move my legs. It would flare up in the evening and was at its worst at night. I just couldn’t sit or lie still as my legs would become uncomfortable and painful. My husband and I had to sleep in separate beds. The lack of sleep made me grumpy during the day and I found it difficult to do fun activities with my sons. It was only when I spoke to a sleep expert that I found out that low magnesium levels were linked to RLS. She recommended that I try a range of products that are absorbed through the skin to increase your body’s magnesium levels.”