A good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health.
In fact, it’s just as important as eating healthy and exercising.
Unfortunately, the Western environment is interfering with natural sleep patterns. People are now sleeping less than they did in the past, and sleep quality has decreased as well.
Here are 10 reasons why good sleep is important.
1. Poor Sleep Can Make You Fat
Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain. People with short sleep duration 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.
2. Good Sleepers Tend to Eat Fewer Calories
Studies show that sleep-deprived individuals have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories. Sleep deprivation disrupts the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones and is believed to cause poor appetite regulation. This includes higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite, and reduced levels of leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite.
3. Good Sleep Can Improve Concentration and Productivity
Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function. This includes cognition, concentration, productivity and performance.
Good sleep has been shown to improve problem-solving skills and enhance memory performance of both children and adults.
4. Good Sleep Can Maximize Athletic Performance
Sleep has been shown to enhance athletic performance. In a study on basketball players, longer sleep was shown to significantly improve speed, accuracy, reaction times and mental wellbeing.
5. Poor Sleepers Have a Greater Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke
It’s known that sleep quality and duration can have a major effect on many health risk factors. These are the factors believed to drive chronic diseases, including heart disease.
6. Sleep Affects Glucose Metabolism and Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Experimental sleep restriction affects blood sugar and reduces insulin sensitivity.
7. Poor Sleep Is Linked to Depression
Mental health issues, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders.
It has been estimated that 90% of people with depression complain about sleep quality. Poor sleep is even associated with an increased risk of death by suicide.
Those with sleeping disorders like insomnia or 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 (24).
One large two-week study monitored the development of the common cold after giving people nasal drops with the cold virus. They found that those who slept less than seven hours were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept eight hours or more.
If you often get colds, ensuring that you get at least eight hours of sleep per night could be very helpful. Eating more garlic can help as well.
9. Poor Sleep Is Linked to Increased Inflammation
Sleep can have a major effect on inflammation in your body. In fact, sleep loss is known to activate undesirable markers of inflammation and cell damage. Poor sleep has been strongly linked to long-term inflammation of the digestive tract, in disorders known as inflammatory bowel diseases (26, 27).
10. Sleep Affects Emotions and Social Interactions