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Sleep and You

Sleep. Unlike diet and exercise, it is something that should be an easy sell. After all, who doesn’t like sleep?! Sadly, it’s something few of us get enough of in both quantity and quality. This is a bigger deal than you may think.  A good night’s sleep is anywhere between 7-9 hours and anything less than 5- 6 hours is usually considered too little for a healthy night’s rest. Here are some reasons a good night’s sleep is so important.

Weight and Nutrition

When you regularly don’t get enough sleep,  your chance of obesity increases by 21%. Research has shown that even short term sleep deprivation causes us to gravitate towards larger portions of high calorie,  high carb foods while eating and even when grocery shopping. It also slows your metabolism while causing your appetite to increase. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a combination of poor food choices and  lower metabolism would cause weight gain and result in poor nutritional outcomes. Also, you are more likely to catch a cold or other infections from your lack of sleep. There is also a firm belief that this sleeplessness could increase your likelihood of diabetes, stroke and cancer.

Appearance

The most obvious side effect is your eyes. They can become bloodshot, droopy, puffy and develop dark under-eye circles. This is so common that there are entire lines of beauty products targeting these problems directly. Beyond your eyes, a lack of sleep can cause wrinkles, increase age spots and discoloration. This is due to its interference in the production of collagen, the key protein that keeps your skin youthful and healthy.

Mental Health

Anyone who has pulled an all nighter even once in their life shouldn’t be surprised by this disturbing fact.  Controlling everything from your cognitive functions to your emotions, when your brain is affected EVERYTHING is affected. A poor night’s sleep can have you struggling to make decisions, concentrate and recall things, as well as severely slowing your reaction times. It can also cause depression and mood swings. In many ways sleep deprivation can be similar to being severely intoxicated.

As you can see, a good night’s sleep is probably the most important thing we can do to help keep ourselves healthy.  

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