Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Importance of Sleep

This month we will look at another necessity, which is sleep. Very regularly, people underestimate the importance of sleep and do not sleep enough. When you understand how significant sleep is to your body composition, strength, health and overall well being, it becomes obvious that the better we are able to sleep, the better we are able to live. You produce most of your growth hormone when you sleep, so actually to achieve your goals it is essential to be resting properly so that your mind and body fully recovers overnight.

Like nutrition, sleep needs are unique to the individual. For males between the ages of 17-35, the national sleep foundation recommends 7-9 hours. Lifestyle and activity levels play a huge factor. The harder you live, the more sleep you need. A lot of people also use the excuse that there is not enough time to get a good night’s sleep as they are very busy during the day and struggle to fit their duties throughout the day. In order for you to change your sleep habits, you need to change this perspective. Sleep is just as vital as eating the right foods and exercising for a certain amount of time during the day. No excuses!

Numerous studies have found that insufficient sleep increases a person's risk of developing serious medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. One study found that sleep-deprived workers are costing the UK economy £40bn a year and face a higher risk of death. The effects from a lack of sleep are massive. Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual's health and wellbeing but has a significant impact on a nation's economy," said Marco Hafner, a research leader at Rand Europe and the study’s main leader.

Let us look at the health issues, which deprived sleep could cause. First up is obesity. Several studies have linked insufficient sleep and weight gain. For example, one study found that people who slept fewer than six hours per night on a regular basis were much more likely to have excess body weight, while people who slept an average of eight hours per night had the lowest relative body fat of the study group. If your goal is to lose weight, it is essential to be getting the right amount of sleep each night.

Next up is diabetes. Studies have shown that people who reported sleeping fewer than five hours per night had a greatly increased risk of having or developing type 2 diabetes. Moreover, further studies have concluded that getting the right amount of sleep can positively influence blood sugar control and reduce the effects of type 2 diabetes.

Finally, a study also found that people who averaged less than seven hours of sleep a night were about three times more likely to develop cold symptoms than study volunteers who got eight or more hours of sleep when exposed to the cold-causing virus.

As a result, a good rule of thumb is to receive between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, and to make sure that one poor night of sleep is not followed up with a few more. It might not seem like much, but it could make all the difference and mean more than any other health decision you make. 

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