Seven reasons why sleep boosts your health
1. Sleep boosts immunity
If you seem to catch every cold and flu that’s going around, your bedtime could be to blame.
Prolonged lack of sleep can disrupt your immune system, so you’re less able to fend off bugs.
2. Sleep can slim you
Sleeping less may mean you put on weight! Studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a day tend to gain more weight and have a higher risk of becoming obese than those who get seven hours of slumber.
It’s believed to be because sleep-deprived people have reduced levels of leptin (the chemical that makes you feel full) and increased levels of ghrelin (the hunger-stimulating hormone).
3. Sleep boosts mental wellbeing
Given that a single sleepless night can make you irritable and moody the following day, it’s not surprising that chronic sleep debt may lead to long-term mood disorders like depression and anxiety.
When people with anxiety or depression were surveyed to calculate their sleeping habits, it turned out that most of them slept for less than six hours a night.
4. Sleep prevents diabetes
Studies have suggested that people who usually sleep less than five hours a night have an increased risk of having or developing diabetes.
It seems that missing out on deep sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by changing the way the body processes glucose – the high-energy carbohydrate that cells use for fuel.
5. Sleep increases sex drive
Men and women who don’t get enough quality sleep have lower libidos and less of an interest in sex, research shows.
Men who suffer from sleep apnoea – a disorder in which breathing difficulties lead to interrupted sleep – also tend to have lower testosterone levels, which can lower libido.
6. Sleep wards off heart disease
Long-standing sleep deprivation seems to be associated with increased heart rate, an increase in blood pressure and higher levels of certain chemicals linked with inflammation, which may put extra strain on your heart.
7. Sleep increases fertility
Difficulty conceiving a baby has been claimed as one of the effects of sleep deprivation, in both men and women.
Apparently, regular sleep disruptions can cause trouble conceiving by reducing the secretion of reproductive hormones.