You are constantly hearing about the importance of sleep for better health, so chances are you already know that getting adequate shut-eye is vital. However, if you are still choosing to catch up on your favorite shows rather than head to bed on time, it might be time to make a few changes for better health. Quite a few health concerns can be improved simply by getting more sleep—including the six listed below, to be exact.
Weight Gain. According to a recent study, well-rested adults and kids eat smaller portions that those who are sleep-deprived. Those who sleep enough also tend to choose healthier foods, while people who sleep very little seem to crave high-calorie junk foods. Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day has also been associated with decreased body fat. Research has found that this might have to do with the link between sleep and hunger-regulating hormones.
Diabetes. Due to the fact that too little sleep can cause cravings for sugary and fatty foods, the increased risk of Type 2 diabetes might also be a factor. According to a 2012 study, getting too little sleep can get in the way of how fat cells respond to insulin. Getting enough sleep can actually help to prevent this metabolic aging.
Memory. When you skimp on sleep, you actually end up cutting into the stage of sleep called REM sleep, which is linked to improved memory and learning. When you sleep, your brain goes in and out of REM sleep, with the longest stage occurring near the time you wake up. Even a short nap can help, and has positive effects on learning, focus, alertness, and memory.
Colds. If you get frequent colds, vitamin C is great—but you might want to consider getting some more sleep as well. According to a 2009 study, people who sleep about eight hours tend to be three times less likely to get a cold than those who sleep less than seven hours.
Stroke. While getting more sleep might not prevent a stroke, a 2012 study found that people who generally get less than six hours of sleep every night have four times the risk of getting stroke symptoms. This still rings true for those who have not had a history of stroke and are not overweight.
Cancer. According to a 2012 study, researcher Dr. Li Li, MD, PhD, “effective intervention to increase duration of sleep and improve quality of sleep could be an under-appreciated avenue for reducing the risk.” This same study found that women with breast cancer who sleep less than six hours a night have an increased risk of more aggressive cancers and recurrence of cancer. According to a 2010 study, people who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer averaged less than six hours of sleep per night.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.