10 Benefits of Sleep

Sleep Plan Program by Nisha Jackson, PhD, MS, WHCNP, HHP
Sleep PLAN

10 Benefits of Sleep

The Top Ten Benefits of Sleep–

Weight control
Multiple recent studies have shown that people who get no more than six hours of sleep are prone to gaining weight. In some studies, it took just thirty to sixty minutes of additional sleep for these subjects to begin to lose weight. Have you ever gone on vacation and eaten more than usual but end up losing weight?

It’s quite possible that the additional sleep you get on vacation helps you burn additional fat.

Lack of sleep has shown to significantly compromise the glucose system. Blood sugar levels are elevated, leaving you feeling hungry all of the time or causing you to have uncontrollable cravings.

Lack of sleep also affects hormone levels. The hormones Ghrelin and Leptin help regulate how satisfied you are when you eat. Leptin is the hormone that tells you “that’s enough, back away from the plate.” Ghrelin is the hormone that causes you to keep eating even though you are full, leaving you dissatisfied no matter how much you eat. Loss of sleep leads to the production of more Ghrelin than Leptin, making it difficult to moderate your food intake. This imbalance can very quickly lead to symptoms of diabetes, including elevated insulin, which affects fat storage and blood sugar and glucose levels.

In a nutshell, getting plenty of good quality sleep helps you keep your weight under control; getting too little helps create an ever-expanding fat roll around your mid-section.

Depression prevention
Alarmingly, along with a decline in the amount that people are sleeping, depression rates have hit an all-time high. Caught in a Catch-22, people who sleep less are more prone to depression. With depression comes an inability to sleep and to cope with the effects during the day, which leads to more depression. Symptoms of depression due to sleep deprivation and the inability to recover at night include feeling frazzled, frantic, over-reactive, anxious, irritable, and moody. There are many studies that have confirmed this direct relationship between depression and lack of sleep.

Brain power
It would amaze you to know the extent to which the brain regenerates while you sleep. Brain cells made during sleep are crucial to the functioning of brain centers having to do with memory, learning, and emotional expression. Without sleep, these areas of our brains literally shrink with age, leaving us feeling more and more brain fogged and often emotionally handicapped.

Pain relief
Over the past year, published studies have shown that sleep deprivation creates heightened pain signals, resulting in more body pain, increased painful symptoms of fibromyalgia, and increased disability with arthritis.
Energy, vitality, and stamina.

If you get enough good quality sleep, you will find that everything works better. With all other things being equal—you will likely wildly out-perform your sleepless neighbor! Increased circulation and the release of endorphins from exercise will give you more energy—more mental energy for work, better focus for concentration, and enhanced stamina for physical activity. With optimal sleep, you will experience the positive effects of nearly every daily activity and body function, which, in turn, leads to optimal sleep. This is a Catch-22 you want to be in!

Heart disease and stroke prevention
A growing list of studies points to the detrimental effects of sleeplessness on health, including heart health. Among them is a recent study by researchers at the University of Warwick, Great Britain, who found that individuals who get less than six hours of sleep at night face a 48 percent higher chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15 percent higher chance of dying from a stroke. Findings like this underscore the fact that loss of sleep can become a time bomb for your health.

Alcoholism and drug abuse prevention
These days, it is not uncommon for people to drink themselves to sleep or take a pill for insomnia, anxiety, or pain just to unwind enough to sleep. The use of these drugs strips your body of necessary nutrients and vitamins and upsets the hormonal balance necessary for body and brain wellness. This is not a path you want to head down. The effects of these drugs are short lived, which means you will ultimately need more of them. Recent studies link a drastic increase in teen alcoholism to overstimulation and resulting sleeplessness.

Attention disorder prevention
Prolonged lack of sleep can cause symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), including the feeling that you’re running around in circles, feeling like you’re losing it, and trouble paying attention. Attention related problems could affect adults as well as children. If you have ADD or you simply feel like you do, you are also very likely not getting enough sleep. Sleep will support your recovery if you do have ADD and resolve your ADD-like symptoms if you don’t.
Either way, sleep will improve your brain synapse.

Anti-aging
If you are a big fan of lots of wrinkles, sagging skin, and looking ten years older than you are, then keep up the late nights and enjoy the benefits of premature aging! If not, one of the biggest benefits of sleeping is for you. Women and men pay big bucks for anti-aging lotions, creams, and injections but continue to ignore the one (free) solution guaranteed to help them look younger—sleep.

Eating well and sleeping at night is a far more powerful anti-aging potion than anything money can buy.

Immune system enhancement
Many studies have found a strong correlation between the lack of sleep and a compromised immune system. A healthy immune system is critical to your health. Getting the proper amount of sleep can help you beat sickness, especially if you catch it early. Sleeping a bit more than you normally do when you do show signs of sickness or stress, and maintaining a normal sleep routine, will keep your immunity functioning at its highest level.
By now you should be convinced of the benefits of sleep for your mind and body and be ready to do whatever is necessary to get more and better sleep. To make it easy for you, I have designed a ten-day program for resetting your sleep routine. Follow this plan, and you’ll be feeling better and full of zest in less than two weeks!

Continue Reading