When we are sleeping, our bodies are working hard to repair, restore and rejuvenate to prepare us both mentally and physically for the next day.
If we don’t get enough sleep we feel tired and grumpy the next day. For the odd night that won’t have any major effects, but a pro-longed period of poor sleep can cause a multitude of health implications. We’ve compiled our top Sleep Tips to help you get your best night’s sleep, every night.
Boost Sleep to Boost Health
Two thirds of us experience lack of sleep and we often blame stress and work (or work-related stress!), but the reason for our poor slumber is more likely due to our bad sleeping habits.
Most of us need around 8 hours of good-quality sleep a night in order to function properly. Some need more, some less. As a general rule, if you wake up feeling tired and spend the day dreaming of a nap – you probably need more sleep.
People who sleep less than 7 hours per night are 30% more likely to be obese than those who sleep for 9 hours or more. This doesn’t mean we will all get our dream bodies by spending more time in bed, but it does show that sleep plays an important role in our overall health and well-being.
What happens when I don’t sleep well?
Naturally, our body clock synchronises with the 24 hour clock of the Earth’s rotation, adjusting to the light and dark. When our body clock is out of sync and we are tired, our bodies go in to survival mode and our metabolism is affected as it causes changes in the hormones ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and leptin (that tells our brain when we are full). Cortisol (the stress hormone) also increases when we don’t get enough sleep which in turn leads to an increased appetite. When we’re tired and hungry, making a healthy dinner is the last thing on our mind and instead we opt for a quick, carbohydrate and fat fuelled meal or a readily available indulgent snack.
This causes further trouble as when we are sleep deprived our body can not process sugars as easily. The mitochondria in our cells that digest food begin to shut down causing sugar to stay in or blood, which, in turn leads to high blood sugar and even diabetes. Our immune system also lacks in efficiency when we are tired, so we may struggle to fight off even the most common infections.
Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep at night are more likely to over eat during the day, taking on as many as 385 extra calories. You might think that people who spend more time awake are more active and can burn off these extra calories, but sadly, this is not the case.
What about mental health?
A good sleep doesn’t only allow our bodies to heal, but our brains too. Whilst we are sleeping, our brains are working to store memories from the day as well as create new ideas. A solid night’s sleep helps to de-stress and when we wake up feeling refreshed we generally perform better.
Sleep deprivation can lead to deficits in cognitive functioning such as memory and decision making, and some studies even show a link between poor sleep and Alzheimer’s. Depression and anxiety can also be attributed to inadequate sleep.
Read more from: SleepHubs