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Dream On! The Importance of Sleep and how to get More. Part One – 10 Key Health Benefits of Sleep

fitness health relaxation sleep management stress managment well-being Jun 28, 2021

For many people, 7 hours of restful sleep feels like a dream. And for some, it feels like a waste of time. Because why sleep when there are problems to solve and things to do?

As a health & fitness professional, I think sleep is more important to your overall wellness than how much you exercise. When your body is tired because it hasn’t had a good sleep, a fitness program is simply not achievable. You’ll simply won’t have the energy nor the motivation to do the program or stick to the nutritional plan.

So, when designing your exercise program for this month, have a look at your sleep schedule. Plan out what time you sleep and what time you’ll wake up so that you can reap these key benefits of sleep:

  1. Weight loss
    The Department of Medicine, University of Chicago discovered individuals lost 55% more body fat simply by sleeping 8.5 hours rather than 5.5hours.1

  2. Reduced Appetite

The hunger hormone ghrelin increased by a 28% for those lacking sleep, and further, they also experienced a 18% decrease in satiety hormone leptin. 2

  1. Healthy eating

Researchers at UC Berkley found that when you are sleep deprived, the brain area controlling desire has greater control over your decisions than it usually would. Hence high calorie foods become significantly more desirable when sleep deprived. 3

  1. Staying motivated

A 2016 Sleep Health Foundation Australian Sleep Survey finding that 29% of workplace errors are a direct result of fatigue. 4

  1. Stressing less

There is a 37% rise in stress hormone cortisol only after one night of inadequate sleep, meaning the next day you’re likely to feel anxious, wired, jittery and unable to switch off. 5

  1. Improved memory

When you sleep well, your body may be resting but your brain is busy organising and storing memories. So, getting more quality sleep will help you remember and process things better. 6

  1. Reduced blood pressure

Getting plenty of restful sleep encourages a constant state of relaxation that can help reduce blood pressure and generally keep it under control. 7

  1. Improved Immunity

While you’re sleeping, your body is producing extra protein molecules that can strengthen your ability to fight infections. 8

  1. Improved Mood
    The better you sleep, the better your ability to stay calm, controlled and reasonable. 9

  2. Reduced chance of Chronic Disease

Some research studies have shown that not getting enough sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes because of how it affects your body’s ability to process glucose. 10

A regular sleep pattern can also help to lower the levels of stress and inflammation to your cardiovascular system, which in turn can reduce your chances of a heart condition.

Read Part Two of this article

Want more advise and tips on how to sleep better?
Watch the Stacked Fitness Webinar replay - You Snooze, You Don't Lose! The 7 Secrets of a restful night’s sleep revealed hosted by Elina Winnel is a leading Sleep expert and master sleep coach. 

1. Nedeltcheva AV, et al Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity Ann Intern Med. 2010 Oct 5; 153(7): 435–441
2. Taheri S et al. Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index PLoS Med. 2004 Dec; 1(3): e62
3. Greer, SM et al The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain Nat Commun. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2014 Feb 6.
4. Robert Adams, R. et al. Report to the Sleep Health Foundation 2016 Sleep Health Survey of Australian Adults The University of Adelaide The Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health
5. Leproult R. et al. Sleep loss results in an elevation of cortisol levels the next evening. Sleep. 1997 Oct;20(10):865-70.
6 Ellenbogen JM et al. The role of sleep in declarative memory consolidation: passive, permissive, active or none? Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2006 Dec;16(6):716-22. Epub 2006 Nov 7.
7 Sheldon G. Sheps, Sleep deprivation: A cause of high blood pressure?  M.D. Mayo Clinic Jan. 09, 2019
8. Dimitrov, S. et al. Gas -coupled receptor signaling and sleep regulate integrin activation of human antigen-specific T cells. Journal of Experimental Medicine (2019) 216 (3): 517–526. DOI: Published: 12 February 2019
9. Dinges, D. et al., Cumulative Sleepiness, Mood Disturbance, and Psychomotor Vigilance Decrements During a Week of Sleep Restricted to 4 – 5 Hours Per Night, Sleep. 1997 Apr; 20 (4): 267–277.
10. Knutson, K. Impact of sleep and sleep loss on glucose homeostasis and appetite regulation. Sleep Med Clin. 2007 Jun; 2(2): 187–197

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