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Just like our mobile phones, our body needs to recharge and this of course comes from the sleep we get. Sleep is essential as it maintains the health of the body and immune system. Our brain cannot function properly without adequate sleep and can experience adverse effects such as loss of memory, concentration and the ability to think with clarity. In this article we will be discussing more about the top benefits of getting adequate sleep and the restorative effects it has to our body.
Top 5 benefits of sleep
About a third of our lives is spent sleeping, and the importance of this activity cannot be undermined. Here, we will list out the top five reasons to clock in your sleep hours so as to build a healthier body and harness a more resilient mind.
1. Combat weight gain
Having enough sleep suppresses our hunger pangs and prevents over eating. The lack of sleep throws appetite related hormones such as Leptin (which suppresses appetite) and Ghrelin (which triggers hunger) into disarray and causes Leptin levels to drop while causing Ghrelin to rise (1).
A study in 2020 found that adults who had sleep lesser than 7 hours a night had a 41% increased risk of becoming obese (2).
Also, other possibilities of weight gain from the lack of sleep is that a fatigued body will tend to be less motivated to engage in physical activities.
2. Improve productivity and focus
Inadequate sleep impedes into the productivity, cognition and concentration performance of an individual.
A study found that doctors who are overworked with various degrees of sleep impairment were more likely to make medical errors than those who had adequate rest (2).
A study conducted by the University of South Australia, compared between the effect of staying awake against the effect specific amounts of alcohol has on our functional performance and it was found that they are comparable. The more you drink, the worse your performance gets. The same is true for staying awake: the longer you are awake after a normal day of work, the worse your performance.
After being awake for 17 hrs., most people showed the same performance effects that they reflect at a blood alcohol level of .05%. On the first night of working the night shift, most workers can expect to have their performance affected as much as it would be at a blood alcohol level of .1%; that is above the legal impaired driving level in Singapore (0.08%).
3. Bolster the immune system and prevent illnesses
Lack of sleep in the long run can adversely affect the health, as research has shown that chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases were more prevalent in individuals who slept lesser.
A study also revealed that the immunity system will also take a hit, where those who averaged less than 7 hours of sleep were three times more at risk of developing a cold than those who had adequate rest (1).
4. Helps with better physical performance
Sleep is the time where the body carries out restorative processes which helps the muscles and tissues recover. Getting adequate sleep helps the body achieve better athletic performance through better coordination, faster speed, enhancing mental focus and function and being able to undertake more intense sessions with improved endurance (3).
5. Better mental health
Sleep deprivation has close links to mental health issues such as depression. A study of over 200 participants found that anxiety and depression were more prevalent in people with lower sleep scores (2).
Inadequate sleep also leads to the development of more negative moods, this is because, the brain does not have the time it needs to process and reorder emotions during sleep (4).
Sleep is an important factor that governs the quality of our lives. Make sure that you understand the recommended amount of sleep needed per your age group and stay disciplined towards achieving better rest for you and your loved ones.
Read More : Top 10 ways to sleep naturally
By : Alvin Ho
B (Eng), MBA, Certified Allied Healthcare/Fitness Professional (EIMS), Master Fitness Trainer / Fitness Nutrition, Resistance & Endurance Training Specialist (NFPT)