Of the manyfactors that can affect our health, one of the leading influences is sleep. It is often overlooked by people who lead busy lifestyles, but lack of sleep can have major implications for an individual’s health. On average, we need roughly eight hours sleep every night, but many of us don’t get anywhere near this amount of sleep, and this can take its toll over time.
If you’ve ever had to go a night or two without getting enough sleep, then you will know that you won’t be at your best the next day. Lack of sleep will affect your mood, your energy levels and your concentration. To help inspire you to take your sleep more seriously, we’ve put together this brief guide to the positive health benefits provided by a good night’s sleep.
Boosting immunity levels
We all know someone who appears to catch every bug that goes around. Well, that could be partially down to a lack of sleep. When we sleep, it is an opportunity for the body’s immune system to recharge and replenish itself, so the more sleep you get, the better able you will be to fight off colds, flus and other bugs that can make the winter months particularly tough.
Keeping your weight down
This is one of the more surprising benefits of sleep, but it seems that by getting a good night’s sleep, you have a better chance of controlling your weight. Some studies show an increased risk of obesity among people who get fewer than seven hours sleep every night.
There could be several reasons why sleep is good for weight control, but one factor that has been identified involves two important weight-regulating chemicals. When you sleep, your body produces leptin, which is the chemical that helps you feel full, while sleep also reduces the level of the hunger-inspiring chemical ghrelin. If you’re currently dieting or you have problems controlling your weight, then getting a better night’s sleep may be one adjustment that could help.
If you’ve ever had a poor night’s sleep and woken up feeling cranky, then you will be familiar with the way that your mental state can be affected. It has been shown that failure to get enough sleep can lead to an increased risk of developing seriousmental health conditions, and many of those who suffer with anxiety, depression and other mental health problems also have sleep problems. Ensuring that you get enough sleep helps your body to reset and recharge, and you are less likely to be susceptible to low mood or irritability, along with a lowered risk of more serious conditions.
We know that diabetes is increasingly a problem in the developed world, and there is some evidence to suggest that sleep plays a minor role in the development of this potentially debilitating condition. Those who regularly get fewer than five hours sleep a night are at an increased risk of diabetes, and scientists believe that this may be related to the way that the body regulates glucose production. By ensuring that you get a full night’s sleep, you can help your body to maintain a steady energy flow throughout the day, rather than the highs and lows associated with wildly fluctuating blood sugar.
Sex and fertility
If you’re worried about your sex drive or you are trying to conceive, then getting enough sleep may be part of the answer. Studies have shown that there is a link between some sleep disorders in men and testosterone levels, which in turn affects libido. It has also been discovered that the body’s natural production of hormones involved in reproduction can be affected by a lack of sleep.
How to get enough sleep
The key to getting more sleep can often be as simple as updating your bed or mattress. Many people who are trying to improve their sleep but are keen to avoid the hassle of visiting their local mattress store and are looking for a new way to buy a mattress have found that they can take advantage of online mattress retail services that offer a mattress in a boxfree shipping.
If you think you are not getting enough sleep, and you want to benefit from the positive health effects that come with regularly getting at least eight hours sleep a night, the good news is that it is possible to change sleep habits, though it may be several weeks before your body begins to show signs of recovering from any built-up sleep debt that you have incurred.
By taking simple steps such as updating your mattress, you can improve your quality of sleep and potentially benefit from the many positive health effects that sleep can offer.