Research

The Power of Sleep

Written by Lisa Rennie

Among all factors that impact our health, perhaps sleep is one of the more underestimated. We may try our best to eat a nutritious diet, take our vitamins and supplements, and make an effort to exercise regularly. But without adequate rest, the impact of these other factors are significantly weakened.

Not only can inadequate asleep cause us to be sluggish the next day, but it can also have a negative effect on various other aspects of life and health. Poor sleep can cause weight gain, which in itself can have numerous effects on overall health. Lack of proper rest can also cause brain fog and issues with memory and cognitive strength. Even your digestion can be affected by inadequate rest.

That’s the power of sleep.

It’s widely understood that we should all be getting roughly seven hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately, over one-third of adults don’t reach that threshold, leaving them vulnerable to a host of health issues.

 

Here are some ways that sleep can improve a person’s overall health:

Sleep strengthens the immune system. [1] Studies show that proper sleep can help your body’s T-cells fight off infection. So, even if you’re exposed to viruses, your body may be in a better position to fight them off and resist getting sick.

Sleep strengthens the heart. [2] Lack of adequate sleep has been linked to cardiovascular issues like heart attack and high blood pressie. Like your immune system, your heart also needs adequate rest to stay strong.

Sleep improves memory. [3] Cognitive function is tied to the amount of sleep you get every night. Even if your physical body is resting, your mind also needs a break. While you’re sleeping, your mind is processing your memories from the day, and without enough sleep, your memory could suffer.

Sleep keeps weight in check. [4] If you’re not sleeping well at not, your chances of gaining weight are much higher. Without enough sleep, the body produces a hormone that increases appetite, known as ghrelin. Further, lack of sleep can also lead to a reduction in the production of leptin, a hormone that tells your brain that you are full. Heightened ghrelin and decreased leptin are a recipe for weight gain.

If you’re currently experiencing poor sleep, it’s time to take steps to improve the situation. Meditate, create a regular nighttime routine, take CBD supplements, and lay off any caffeinated or alcohol-based beverages too soon before bed. Whatever you can do to improve your sleep will, in turn, help you improve your overall health.

Image source: PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

 

References:

 

  1. Besedovsky, L, et al, “Sleep and immune function“, Pflugers Arch. November 2011, 463(1): 121–137.

 

  1. Grandner, M.A., et al, “Sleep disturbance is associated with cardiovascular and metabolic disorders“, J Sleep Res., August 2012, 21(4): 427–433.

 

  1. Potkin, K. T. & Bunney., W.E., “Sleep Improves Memory: The Effect of Sleep on Long Term Memory in Early Adolescence“, PLoS One, August 2012; 7(8): e42191.

 

  1. Chaput, J.P., et al, “The Association Between Sleep Duration and Weight Gain in Adults: A 6-Year Prospective Study from the Quebec Family Study“, Sleep, April 2008; 31(4): 517–523.

About the author

Lisa Rennie

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