And so to sleep...
5 reasons to get a good night's sleep
1) Control your cravings
Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain and obesity. A large study in the US(1) found that the likelihood of becoming obese increased by 6% amongst people that slept less than 7 hours per night. When we don’t get enough sleep our hormone levels change, making us want to eat more.(2) It effects our food choices too and if we don't get enough sleep we end up craving high-calories food. In fact, the less sleep we get, the more likely we are to crave fattening foods.(3) At the same time, these hormonal changes caused by lack of sleep prevent us from burning as many calories as normal.(2) This all adds up to weight gain.
2) Boost your mood
We all know that grouchy feeling when we're overly tired. You only have to watch kids that are due a nap to see how mood-swings and tantrums play out when we’re sleepy. Our quality of sleep directly impacts on our mental wellbeing. How we sleep effects how we feel the following day as much as what we do in the day effects how we sleep. If we have a poor night sleep we are much less resilient to negative emotions the next following day. (4)
3) Grow strong
An often neglected fact is that our muscles don’t grow when we’re smashing out the bench presses or loading up the weights machine. Strength training is actually designed to tear the muscle fibres. It’s only during sleep that they repair and rebuild into stronger muscles. This is why we schedule rest days into a training programme, allowing the body to adapt and improve.
4) High blood pressure and heart disease
Even a small reduction in sleep (6-7 hours per night) can significantly increase your risk of heart disease and blood pressure. Lack of sleep is associated with a build-up in the arteries of the heart which can lead to heart disease or heart attacks. Sleep apnea, which can severely disrupt sleep, has also been linked to a higher risk of heart diseases, hypertension, and stroke. (6)
5) Warding off a cold
With so many coughs and sneezes going around it feels almost inevitable that we will get one at some point. However, getting enough sleep can help ward off the common cold. A recent study found that people who got less than 7 hours of sleep were about 3 times more likely to develop a cold. The study also found that people who slept 8 hours plus were more resilient and therefore less likely to catch a cold. (5)
But don’t lose sleep over this!
If you are having trouble sleeping make sure you get plenty of exercise and look out for my forthcoming blog on sleep hacks.
1 Beccutia, G. and Pannaina, S. (2017). Sleep and Obesity. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632337/ [Accessed 17 Nov. 2017].
2 Buxton, O. and Marcelli, E. (2010). Short and long sleep are positively associated with obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease among adults in the United States. Social Science & Medicine, 71(5), pp.1027-1036.
3 Cohen, S., Doyle, W., Alper, C., Janicki-Deverts, D. and Turner, R. (2009). Sleep Habits and Susceptibility to the Common Cold. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169(1), p.62.
4 Greer, S., Goldstein, A. and Walker, M. (2017). The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain.
5 Healthysleep.med.harvard.edu. (2017). Sleep and Health | Need Sleep. [online] Available at: http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/whats-in-it-for-you/health [Accessed 17 Nov. 2017].
6 Taylor & Francis. (2017). Poorer sleep quality is associated with lower emotion-regulation ability in a laboratory paradigm. [online] Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02699931.2012.727783 [Accessed 17 Nov. 2017].