Unfortunately, the fast paced, Western world we live in is interfering with our natural sleep patterns. Not only are we sleeping less than we did in the past, our sleep quality has also decreased.
We all know that a bad night’s sleep is not beneficial. Besides the dark circles under the eyes and a foggy brain, lack of sleep can actually increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, obesity and negatively impact your immune function!
Sleep is vitally important, not only for your health, but also your wellbeing. Here are some of the reasons why we love sleep (we say ‘some’ because our list of why we love sleep would top at least 100).
- It can help to balance your hunger hormones
You know that feeling of endless hunger, where no food will satisfy your cravings? You’ve probably experienced it after a late or restless night. Studies show that sleep deprived individuals have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories. A good night’s sleep helps to maintain a balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) and full (leptin). When we have a poor night’s sleep, this balance is disrupted, leading to poor appetite regulation.
2. It can reduce inflammation
Sleep loss has been linked to long-term inflammation and cell damage. Poor sleep can adversely impact our body’s inflammatory responses and increase the risk of inflammatory disease recurrence. Studies have shown that patients with Crohn’s disease who were sleep deprived were twice as likely to relapse compared to patients who slept well. On the other hand, solid sleep helps the body in its recovery process and keep inflammation at bay.
3. It can help to improve your workouts
Have you ever tried to workout after a night of poor sleep? Yep, not that great. That’s because sleep has been shown to improve athletic performance, including reaction time, speed and accuracy. If you really want to improve and make decent progress with your exercise plan you may want to consider getting more shut eye.
4. It can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke
Did you know, sleeping less than 7 hours a night has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke? Both sleep quality and duration are believed to drive chronic disease. Get some rest!
5. It can improve your immune function
A good night’s sleep can improve your immune function and ability to fight of disease – especially the common cold. Even a minor loss in sleep can impair your immune function. Studies have shown that people who sleep less than 7 hours a night are almost three times more likely to catch a cold than people who sleep 8 or more hours.