Why improve sleep? I get this question all the time, so I thought it would be helpful to share what I know about the benefits of quality sleep. This means that you are sleeping 7-9 hours, not more, not less; and that when you do, your brainwaves are characterized by Delta waves, demonstrating you are in Slow Wave Sleep (SWS), or Deep Sleep. As the night progresses, you will have less SWS and more REM sleep, before waking up, fresh as a daisy. Here’s some fun facts for you, and yes, I hope that by reading this, you begin to take sleep a little more seriously. Enjoy!
- Optimal synthesis of Growth Hormone, facilitating metabolism, the preservation of lean muscle mass, recovery from physiological or psychological stress, collagen production, energy levels, sexual function and fertility
- Fat loss: 55% more fat is lost when we sleep 8.5 hours rather than 5.5 hours; as supported by a repeated measured RCT. Using the same participants, controlling for diet and exercise using the extremely specific measurement tools such as an actigraph, researchers demonstrated how significantly EASIER fat loss is simply when you sleep sufficiently.
- Reduced hunger, especially reduced hunger for fat and sugars: compared to sleep restriction, which leads to an 18% reduction in leptin (hormone to make you feel full), a 28% increase in ghrelin (hormone to make you hungry), 24% increase in appetite and 33-45% increase in cravings for carbohydrates); having sufficient sleep makes it NATURALLY easier to lose and maintain your weight. Further, researchers have also found that there is an increased intake of 385 calories PER DAY, simply due to poor sleep… probably because of all that sugar you’re more craving!!
- 37% reduced cortisol; helping relieve symptoms of anxiety, restlessness, irritability and moodiness.
- Greater self control – under conditions of inadequate sleep, the region responsible for self regulation is inhibited – so.. when paired with biological cravings for sugar and fat, It’s no wonder we are likely to gain weight and fat! Avoid this problem by sleeping properly.
- Peak productivity, due to time management skills functioning at their best
- Improved declarative (knowing WHAT) and procedural (knowing HOW) memory processes, meaning if you're having a conversation with a client / boss / partner or studying for an important exam, you're more like to remember it - accurately.
- Increased learning capacity from improved attention, focus, concentration
- Improvements in decision making, critical thinking and judgement
- Reduced risk of depression (9.8 times less likely) and anxiety disorders (17.35 times less likely); compared to those who are suffering poor sleep from insomnia
What’s your favourite thing about sleeping properly? Tell me in the comments!
Need help sleeping? Sign up for my FREE 21 Days of Sleep Tips Series, highlighting a sample of the physiological, psychological and environmental changes you can make to improve your sleep tonight, and energy levels tomorrow. Or, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about my bespoke online program, The Sleep Solution, and how it can transform your sleep, and restore you to your best self - inside and out.