Think about how great you feel after a solid, deep sleep. You wake up feeling rejuvenated and alive, and ready to face the day. That’s not all. Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes well beyond boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. Read on to learn why sleep is good for your health and how to get the best, most rejuvenating effects from it.
The physiology of poor sleep
Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind and more. Poor sleep or lack of sleep is linked to Type 2 diabetes. In a study of healthy young men, restricting sleep to four hours per night for six nights in a row caused symptoms of diabetes. The symptoms disappeared after one week of increased sleep.
Mental health issues, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and lack of it. It is estimated that 90 per cent of patients with depression complain about sleep quality. Those with sleeping disorders, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, also report significantly higher rates of depression than those without.
Go ahead and count those sheep
Quality shut-eye is the best medicine available. It leads to more energy, helps you handle stress and improves overall well-being. Your body systems benefit when you get the seven to eight hours of sleep that experts recommend. Sleep is your body’s time to heal, recharge and restore itself. When you skimp on sleep and end up in ‘sleep debt,’ it affects every body function, from your memory to your mood to the number of sick days you take and even your risk for a heart attack. Insufficient sleep is linked to heart-health issues, from high blood pressure to heart attacks, because regularly shortchanging yourself on sleep can lead to a surge in stress hormones such as cortisol. The increase in this hormone encourages your ticker to respond by working harder, and then it doesn’t get the rest it needs.
Sleep prevents you from packing on the pounds
A good night’s rest won’t necessarily result in weight loss, but it can keep you from
adding unwanted pounds. Sleeplessness cranks up production of ghrelin, the hormone that boosts appetite, and leads to a decrease in the hormone leptin, which signals feeling full. Lack of sleep makes you more prone to stress and gives you low energy and, therefore, reduces your ability to fight junk food cravings. So, go ahead and sleep your way to balanced hunger and satiety hormones.
Sleep boosts your immune system
A healthy immune system is another reason why we should catch enough Zs. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.
During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, which increase in number when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these very important cytokines.
Find Your Sleep Ritual
It’s obvious that sleeping is good for our health. Ensuring that those recommended seven to eight hours of sleep are meaningful and consistent is all about getting into a sleep routine. Try these tips and wake up feeling like you can conquer the world:
1. Get into bed at the same time every night. Do this by choosing a time that you know you can be consistent with.
2. Wear comfortable, loose clothing so that you aren’t too cold or too hot.
3. Do some light stretching 30 minutes before bed to loosen tight muscles and prevent cramping through the night.
4. Take magnesium before going to bed. The benefits of magnesium are endless and one of them is that it helps promote a deep and rejuvenating sleep.
5. Try not to nap during the day since this will only disrupt the time you have designated to go to sleep.
Good, wholesome sleep makes you feel alive and keeps you healthy. Making sleep a priority and finding your ‘sleep ritual’ is key to being happy and productive. Catch those Zs, count sheep and hit the snooze button once or twice and see how great you will feel.
About the Author
Dr. Claudia Machiella owns and operates one of the GTA’s leading chiropractic clinics. Since 2001 Dr. Claudia Machiella has grown and built her practice and has been a Chiropractic advocate in her community. Most recently she has opened a second location in Vaughan in order to provide increased accessibility to chiropractic so that more people […]Read Bio Read Posts