What are the benefits of getting enough sleep?

Sleep is so important for so many different reasons. We all love it, yet many of us don’t get enough!

Myself, I have a non-negotiable commitment to getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night with no exceptions! I owe my health, my energy, my ability to function at my optimum to my sleep. So much so, that when I have a bad night’s rest or get inadequate hours, I notice the difference!

Sleep hygiene are the habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis, a very important concept in ensuring a good nights sleep.

Getting your forty winks comes with so many benefits, many related to our weight. It is the key to a healthy lifestyle.

The human circadian rhythm regulates everything from hormone secretion, metabolism, eating, sleeping, energetics and other physiological processes. See the following diagram for a bit of an insight!

  • Good sleep heals and repairs the body: Believe it or not, the body is actually quite busy when we’re asleep! During these hours, it works to rebuild and repair damaged molecules, rid of bugs and irritants as well as cleansing, digesting and detoxifying. Good sleep helps to strengthen the body’s immune system. Therefore, adequate sleep will help us fight off those coughs and colds and unwanted infections.
  • Good sleep reduces our stress levels: Sleep has a great effect on the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease and stress. An adequate nights sleep will help to lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and the stress hormone, cortisol. If either or both of these are high we predispose ourselves to a host of health implications.
  • Good sleep enhances our cognitive function: Our brains undergo a process called ‘consolidation’ when we are sleeping. The mind, when we are asleep, acts to strengthen memories and practice newly learned tasks, words or phrases. Hence, why we perform so much better after a good nights sleep and why sleep deprivation impairs the learning process!
  • Good sleep assists weight control as well as digestion and metabolism: Sleep helps to regulate the hormones that control our appetites. So much so that sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same part of the brain. How is that for smart! When we don’t get adequate sleep, this balance becomes interrupted and the body releases the nasty ‘ghrelin’ hormone which stimulates hunger. Lack of sleep also slows down the metabolism which leads to weight gain over time.
  • Good sleep enhances our mood and keeps our feelings in check: We all know how irritable and moody we get after not having enough sleep. Good sleep keeps us emotionally stable; it means we wake up fresh, rested and ready to take on the day ahead.
  • Good sleep enhances your beauty and appearance: Poor sleep affects your appearance and increases the ageing process. Good sleep will reduce inflammation such as dark circles around the eyes as the cells actively repair themselves overnight.

Benefits of sleep

The key is finding balance. This does not mean sleeping all day at the weekend because you have simply not had enough during the week…it means implementing a good sleep hygiene routine and aiming for the same amounts of hours each night.

  • Here are some sleep solutions to help with your weight loss….
    • Avoid exercising just before bedtime: exercise leads to a boost of adrenaline and cortisol, which you do not want when you are trying to fall asleep!
    • Soak up the sunshine: enjoying the sunshine for as little as 15 minutes each day will boost your vitamin D and melatonin production.
    • Close the kitchen early: avoid any heavy meals or late night snacking. Aim to finish dinner by 7.30-8pm to give your body a chance to digest food before you head to bed. **Handy tip: Brush your teeth after dinner to avoid snacking late at night!
    • Cut the caffeine: avoid stimulants before bed. As a rule, it may be beneficial for you to stop drinking caffeinated drinks after 3pm – coffee, green tea, cacao.