The Health Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep
When it comes to your health and wellbeing, there are four main pillars of health; regular exercise, good nutrition, dealing with stress and getting enough sleep.
Sleep is often a neglected element of our health; we don't tend to think too deeply about it. However, having a good night's sleep is vital for our health and wellbeing.
Some scientists have described sleep as nature’s own life support system. It’s ‘non-negotiable’ and we cannot survive without it.
Whilst people may believe it is a myth, eight hours is actually the recommendation from sleep scientists. There are some people that seem to be able to function on less than this, however, it can catch up with you in later life.
Unfortunately, there is a growing number of people struggling with sleep loss. With impacts such as busy work schedules and an increase in stress levels, sleep often gets pushed to the bottom of priorities.
What are the health benefits of getting enough sleep?
Quality, deep sleep brings with it huge, life-long benefits. Below is a list of just a few of these benefits to highlight how important sleep really is and why you should call it an early night.
Supports weight control
Perhaps one of the most underappreciated benefits of good sleep is controlling your weight. Studies show that lack of sleep has been linked to higher body weight (BMI) and even obesity, which itself can lead to a list of other downstream diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, including strokes. Other clinical studies showed a reduction in muscle mass too, which in itself is another unhealthy direction to head.
Sleep deprivation can also disrupt the so-called circadian rhythm (daily internal clock) and so in turn, can disrupt appetite hormones too, like ghrelin that stimulates appetite - increasing the desire to eat more.
Unsurprisingly, your overall physical performance can also take a hit if you fail to get enough sleep, making you more tired throughout the day and wondering what the problem is.
Improves your immune system
A key aspect of health that is benefited from getting enough sleep is our immune function. If our immunity falls, we won’t be able to fight viral or bacterial infections - leading to a greater risk of acquiring a variety of diseases.
One important facet of our immune system is the so-called “Killer Cells”, which behave as our ‘immune assassins’, protecting us against a large number of pathogens or disease-causing invaders.
Clinical studies show that even losing just four hours of sleep in one night, is enough to cause a 70% loss in immune function. Imagine the impact on our immune system if we continue to have poor sleep patterns for months or even years.
For more information on how you can boost your immune system, read our article here.
Boosts your brain health
Enjoying a good night’s sleep supports various aspects of brain function, cognitive ability and memory too, all-important to retain as we age.
Sleep typically gets worse with age, but it also becomes more important too - it’s one of the best things to help the aging process.
More recently, a lack of sleep has been linked to cognitive decline and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Neuro-imaging studies of the brain show that during deep sleep, the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain exhibits a kind of ‘washing’ through the brain, a natural way of removing problematic protein bundles called ‘beta-amyloid plaques’. In essence, this is rather like the sewage system of the brain, cleaning the toxic debris that is not needed. The presence of these plaques is associated with Alzheimer’s disease, so deprivation of sleep is believed to be a cause of the memory debilitating disease later on in life.
How can I improve my sleep?
The Sleep Council tells us that around a quarter of people in the UK have problems with getting a good night’s sleep regularly. Improve the quality of your sleep by following these tips;
- Avoid alcohol or caffeine near bedtime
- Don’t stare into any blue light devices such as smartphones and tablets
- Exercise every day, but not too close to bedtime
- Try getting into a routine with going to bed and getting up at the same time
- Make your bedroom as dark as possible before bedtime
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Supplement your diet to replenish vitamins you may be lacking
Our Fighting Fatigue formula
Maintaining energy levels throughout the day is more and more difficult as we age, especially if you’re struggling to achieve a good quality amount of sleep.
There are essential vitamins and minerals that are important if we are to ensure that our energy-producing metabolism is at its best. However, we know from published studies in the UK, that the majority of us are failing to get what we need from our diet alone.
The B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, iodine and even minor and forgotten nutrients like copper are all essential for energy production.
Our Fighting Fatigue formula has been specifically developed to help you stay active, especially for the over 50s. The supplement contains all the necessary nutrients to fight fatigue by replenishing micronutrients most likely to be low or missing from your diet.
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