Apr 13, 2015
When we talk about a healthy lifestyle we talk about nutrition and exercise. However there is one more important part of a healthy lifestyle- Sleep! Sleep affects all the parts of our lives and is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. If you are not seeing the results you want, a lack of sleep could be the problem (read my 'How to get a good night's sleep' article for tips on sleeping better). Here are 5 reasons why sleep is so important.
It gives your immune system a boost
Lack of sleep can make you ill. A study found that if you get less than 7 hours sleep a night you are 3 times more likely to catch a cold than if you slept 8 hours.
Lack of sleep is strongly linked with weight gain and obesity. This is because lack of sleep changes in hormone levels in your body, causing you to eat more. Lack of sleep will also decrease your motivation to exercise. So if you are trying to lose weight getting a good night's sleep is one of the first things you should be doing.
It protects you from diseases
Lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of Heart Disease, Stroke and Type 2 Diabetes. Sleeping for 7-8 hours a night decreases your risk of developing these diseases.
As well as harming your physical health a lack of sleep can harm your mental health. A lack of sleep is strongly linked with depression, a lack of concentration, poor productivity and poor social interactions. This is because a lack of sleep impairs your brain function.
Poor sleep will also decrease your performance during exercise. Studies on athletes showed that if they did not get enough sleep they were slower, weaker and had less stamina. If you are exercising this means you will burn less calories and not increase your strength as much as you could if you had proper sleep.