Updated: Sep 22, 2020
I touched on the benefits of sleep on my last post about the immune system and the role in plays in keeping us fit and healthy.
So now I am going to put more focus on sleep and why we need it and why we should be getting more.
Let’s face it, we’ve heard for years about getting 8 hours of sleep a night. But how many of us actually get 8 hours? The vast majority of people in the western world don’t get close to it. Most people probably get closer to 6 hours.
So what’s the big deal? So you’re a couple of hours short on your sleep.
How bad can it be?
Honestly, very bad.
It wasn’t until I read more on sleep. Like anything, you need to understand the positives and the negatives.
So let’s look at some of the things that sleep effects. Be warned, there are some serious health issues related to not enough sleep.
Ok, so we know we should be 8 hours (7-9 hours). But what happens if you get 6. Or even less.
As I touched on before, sleep plays a big part in keeping your immune system strong and able to fight off disease and bacteria. So if you want to avoid the cold and flu, it’s important to get your sleep to stay healthy.
But that’s just the beginning. It gets much more serious than that.
People in the 6 hours or less category are twice as likely to get cancer. It is also a big factor on whether you get Alzheimer’s disease or not. Even slight reductions for a week disrupts blood sugar levels so much that you would fall under that category of pre-diabetic.
Ok so this just got a lot more serious than, make sure you get enough sleep so you don’t feel half asleep at work in the morning and you don’t get the cold. There’s serious issues involved with not enough sleep.
But wait, there’s more.
Insufficient sleep increase the likelihood of your arteries blocking and becoming weak and brittle. This then leads to a higher chance of heart disease, stroke and heart failure.
Oh and there’s no alternative fix for these. It doesn’t matter how much you train, how perfect your diet is and supplementation, none of that will fix any of these issues if you don’t address your sleep.
I know this doesn’t seem like the happiest post you’re going to ever read. It’s been a bit doom and gloom.
While on that subject, lack of sleep also plays a massive part on your mental health. Studies have
shown that sleep, or lack of it, has major effects on psychiatric conditions. The includes the likes of depression, anxiety and even feeling suicidal.
Like I said, probably not the cheeriest blog you’ll ever read so far. But with the negative comes the positive.
All those awful issues that you wouldn’t wish on anyone, increase drastically when you don’t get enough sleep. So the simple fix, and it is that simple, get more sleep!
Now obviously I’m not saying if you get 8/9 hours of sleep a night every night that you will be invincible and be in the best mood ever all time.
What I’m saying is, that if you want to reduce the likelihood of getting any of thos
e disease and conditions, getting a good quality 8 hours of sleep each night will help big time.
Stay in bed and lose weight. Well, pretty much. There are hormones in your body that have a massive impact on your weight and sleep is the best way too keep them in check.
As I’m sure you’re aware by now, sleep is one of the if not the best rejuvenating thing we have at our disposal. Studies have proven that recovery boosting growth hormones sky rocket when we sleep which is so important so that we can get the most out of exercise. And we’ve already discussed the effect on our immune system.
So how does it effect our weight?
There is a hormone in our body that was discovered not all that long ago called Leptin. This hormone has a major factor in effecting our appetite and how much fat we store.
If you can control this hormone, you can control your appetite and body fat.
So how do you control it?
There has been studies carried out that show those who got 4 hours of sleep had lower leptin levels. Those who got 8+ hours had higher than normal leptin levels. It was also noted that those with the increased appetite, craved high carb junk food such as chocolate, sweets, etc.
There is another hormone effecting these things called ghrelin. This is the hormone that signals to the brain if you’re hungry or not.
So leptin tells your brain your full and satisfied and ghrelin tells your brain you’re hungry and eat more.
Depending on how much sleep you get, determines which side wins.
Your cravings and ability to stick to a diet is not all psychological or about will power, though it does play a part, it’s actually deeper than that and controlled by our hormones and sleep patterns.
Although there was a lot of negative aspects at the start, it was not intended to scare monger. Just to simply point out, these are health issues that you here about regularly. And yes you need a balanced diet and vitamins and minerals and regular exercise. But there is no replacement or supplement for not enough sleep. And your risk of any of those awful issues and diseases mentioned is drastically reduced simply by getting 8 hours sleep each night.
So if you want to lose weight and live a long and healthy life, stay in bed and get more shut eye.