We have become a society of taking a pill for everything, whether it be a headache, anxiety, depression, weight loss, pain, memory, etc... But if you knew that just getting the right amount of sleep could help you, would you do it? I am not saying that some people don't need the medications, I am saying that if we allowed our body's the rest and sleep it needs that many of these problems could be helped in less severe conditions. Here are just "9" reasons why sleep is essential for your health:
1. Better Productivity & Concentration
There have been multiple studies done proving that a good night's sleep can improve productivity. In a study from The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2010, they group people into 4 categories: insomnia, insufficient sleep syndrome, at-risk, and good sleep. Their objective was to learn the impact of productivity in the workplace due to lack of sleep. Their results showed that in comparison to the at-risk and good sleepers, the people with sleeping conditions actually cost their employers about $1967.00 a year in salaries due to productivity, performance, and safety outcomes.
2. Lower Weight Gain Risk
Your lack of sleep as we spoke about earlier actually alters the way your brain behaves. NIH states there was a group of Dr.'s from the University of Chicago who did a study and showed that your body's endocannabinoid (eCB) system plays a huge role in your brains activity of regulating your appetite. Much like the chemical reaction of marijuana but not CBD. Hemp does not work directly on the CB1 receptor like THC and does not have the same effect. They took 14 non-obese, healthy people 18 to 30 years old and put them on a on a fixed diet, allowing them either 8.5 hours of sleep or 4.5 hours of sleep for 4 consecutive days. The sleep deprived people were not only hungrier but they ate more unhealthy snacks between meals. This is because their endocannabinoid (eCB) system showed higher levels which caused them to make less than healthy decisions about the food they ate.
3. Better Calorie Regulation
Going back to the study above you can see how getting enough sleep will allow you to make more sound decisions on your eating habits. So now your concentration is better, you are more productive and you have less cravings for the bad foods. Another study shows that a group of people who had been sleep deprived of only an hour and 20 minutes less, actually consumed an average of 549 additional calories each day. Wow!
4. Greater Athletic Performance
According to The Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation or lack of sleep causes the the production of glycogen and carbohydrates to deplete which are stored for energy use during physical activity. So, the less sleep you have the more you are fatigued with a lower energy level and in return will cause not so good focus during your game or sport. This can also slow down the recovery time for your post-game. Sleep hard, play hard...
5. Lower Risk of Heart Disease
The National Health Institute says that lack of sleep and irregular sleep patterns in people between the ages of 45 - 84 can increase their risk of heart disease. As you have read, getting enough sleep plays so many roles in how your body and brain work. But your heart too? A study was done with 2,000 men and woman, they had them wear smart watches to monitor their sleep-wake patterns. These men and woman were then followed for about 5 years and the study showed that "Participants with the most irregular sleep schedules were nearly twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease as those with more regular sleep patterns." The cardiovascular problems consisted of not only heart disease but also strokes and other cardiovascular events.
6. More Social & Emotional Intelligence
This particular study I read about from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and was done on college students. This study shows that sleep deprivation has an impact on students’ mental acumen and activities such as memory, concentration, self-confidence, thoughts and positive emotions, individual health, learning capability, and academic performance. Most students go through many obstacles which cause these sleep problems, being away from home, studying for exams, acceptance, new surroundings, etc... This is true not only in college students but everyone really. Your prefrontal cortex is sensitive to the effects of sleep deprivation, and significantly declines in metabolic activity which is what causes these social and emotional intelligence problems. Let's make sure our college kids get the sleep they need, they don't need any extra stresses other than school... You too mom and dad..
7. Preventing Depression
Now bringing us into how sleep can cause depression. We already know the 6 reasons why sleep is essential and some of those alone can cause depression in people. Depression actually affects more than 20 million Americans today and it's a very serious illness. Not one to ignore. Sleep conditions are very prominent in people with depression and studies show that people with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are 5 times more likely to have problems with depression. This is true in children as well, studies show that children that are unhappy or showing signs of depression are also suffering from sleep disorders and hypertension. If you are suffering from depression, we knows it's very serious and you should seek help from a professional.
8. Lower Inflammation
Sleep plays a very big role in stress which leads to inflammation. Stress alone can cause chronic pain and inflammation. Lack of sleep can also cause your immune system to turn against healthy tissue and organs. New research also shows that even for a night of sleep loss it can trigger your cellular pathways which produce tissue damaging inflammation and increase the inflammation in your body. "In other words, sleep is vitally important to maintaining a healthy body."
9. Stronger Immune System
Ok, so if you aren't already recalculating your schedule to include a normal 8.5 hours of sleep then maybe this will help. Our immune system has become so much more talk about and important today with COVID-19. Everyone is buying out all the supplements to boost your immune system. Well, did you know that your body has something called T cells? Your T cells play a vital role in your immune system and when they recognize any viral infected cells it activated integrins and kills the viral cells. Good sleep allows for your body's T-cells to perform effectively and when you don't sleep well they are ineffective.