Monday, July 6, 2015

Staying Healthy: The Health Benefits of Sleep

Our staying healthy series aims to give you helpful tips and advice to keep you in tip-top shape, because staying healthy is an insurance policy all of its own. In previous additions we have discussed how to reduce stomach fat, general weight loss tips and if chocolate can help prevent obesity and diabetes. In this installment, most people already know that we need sleep. But sleep (and the right amount of sleep) has even more practical benefits to your health than you think.



1. Improving Memory.

Sleep is crucial to processing and consolidating information in your mind, which is why a good night's sleep before a test or exam is often a far better idea than burning the midnight oil studying. Studies have shown that if you're trying to learn something, a good night's sleep is crucial to keeping your precise mental functioning intact.



2. Improving weight issues.

Research conducted by the University of Chicago found that subjects that were well rested lost considerably more fat whilst on a diet than subjects that were sleep-deprived. The subjects in the first category lost approximately 56% than the sleep-deprived group. The same areas of the brain are responsible for both sleep and metabolism, so good sleep can help maintain a healthy and not excessive appetite.



3. Sleep can reduce stress.

Sleep refreshes your mental processes and regulates the level of hormones in your body, both of which can become askew through considerable stress during a hard day. It also provides better control of your blood pressure. Health experts recommend attempting to get into a routine of going to sleep and awakening at around the same time each night, whilst giving yourself some wiggle room for a late night or two every once in a while. If you are over-stressed, do your utmost to get yourself a good night's sleep.


4. Sleep lowers your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

A somewhat shocking study investigated the effects of disturbing the sleep patterns of 10 previously healthy young adults with shift work. After only four days, three out of 10 had blood glucose levels that would qualify them as pre-diabetic. Many other studies have testified to good sleep lowering the risk of heart disease and heart attacks over the long term.



5. Improving reaction times/preventing accidents.

A bad night's sleep or, even worse, no sleep at all, is the equivalent of one or more alcoholic beverages in terms of its impact on your driving. Lack of sleep means that your reaction times are slowed and your decision making is impaired. In the Unites States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration found in 2009 that tiredness accounted for the highest proportion of fatal single car crashes, even higher than alcohol. For the safety of yourself and other road users (as well as avoiding vehicle insurance problems) a good night's sleep is essential.


Sleep affects almost every tissue in your bodies, including hormones, your immune system, your appetite, blood pressure and the health of your heart. A good sleep schedule maintained well is crucial for your functioning, and will definitely help you in staying healthy.










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