Sleep and Health: What You Need to Know


Photo credit: Erik-Jan Leusink

Sleep is more than rest. To complete the trifecta of health, sleep helps you perform your best emotionally and physically. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “woke up on the wrong side of the bed," but there is often much more to it than waking up in a sour mood. Getting the proper amount and quality of sleep helps improve your emotional well-being and helps to promote healthy brain function.

As for physical health, sleep is a major player in keeping your body in tip top shape. A lack of sleep puts unnecessary stress on your body and can cause serious cardiovascular issues if it becomes a chronic issue. Our bodies are not meant to work around the clock; we need to recharge fully and fill up our gas tanks each and every night to ensure that we’re functioning at our very best.

Moreover, if you’ve ever found yourself craving a juicy burger or a plate of cookies after a night of not so great sleep, this isn’t in your imagination. A lack of sleep can increase your risk for obesity because of a fun little hormone called ghrelin that controls your feeling of hunger. Sleep helps to keep this hormone balanced and in check so you don’t get spikes throughout the day that make you feel unusually hungry. When this hormone spikes, you will feel an urge to consume more than you normally would. This spike in sugary and fatty cravings is fine under normal conditions, but your body has a harder time processing sugar with lack of sleep, causing an elevated blood sugar level.

Now, don’t let this scare you; the only thing your occasional all-nighters and random sleepless nights are going to cause is irritability and annoyed friends and coworkers, but if you start making a habit of it, it can quickly grow into a serious problem. Make sure you get into bed with enough time to reach that sweet spot of 7-9 hours most nights to maintain a happy and healthy body and mind.


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