Search for Health Information You Need

Prevent Heart Disease, Weight Gain and Diabetes with Good Night’s Sleep

There is a remedy that does not cost a dime and so it cannot be found in any drugstore, and yet, it can help you lose excess weight, reduce the risk of heart disease and keep your blood sugar in check. This simple remedy is called good night’s sleep. Sleep enables you to repair, refuel and recharge your body and brain so that it can overcome the damage caused during the day.

Recent studies show that a deep sleep will not just make you healthier and younger-looking, but it can even increase your longevity. Sleep experts say that people with hypertension who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, inadequate sleep can lead to high blood pressure and insulin resistance in anyone. However, be careful not to oversleep, as too much sleep can also increase your risk for stroke and some other conditions.

Not sleeping at all when needed is obviously yet worse. It causes you to have the kind of performance that is the equivalent of blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08%, which is legally drunk. This is why driving while drowsy is practically as bad as drunk driving.

Sleep and Hunger

Sleep regulates ghrelin, cortisol and leptin which are hormones that regulate hunger and satiety. These hormones are produced during sleep. If you do not get enough sleep, your sense of hunger and fullness will be off. So if you are interrupting your sleep, the level of these hormones in the blood will be abnormal and you may have problems with weight gain.

Rapid Eye Movement Sleep

It is not just any kind of sleep we need to perform well. It is the “dream” stage of sleep, also known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, that is crucial. A number of studies show that when deprived of REM sleep, people cannot remember how to perform a task taught to them on the previous day.

Sleep and Depression

Not getting good sleep consistently can lead to depression and anxiety. Depression can cause sleep problems, but the reverse is also true. People suffering from sleeplessness have a tenfold risk of developing depressive disorders. In turn, people with depression are five times more likely to have sleep apnea whereas apnea treatment can reduce depressive symptoms. Therefore, treating depression can eventually help counter insomnia.

How Much Sleep?

A good night’s rest is one of the best things you can do for your heart, but also for your waistline and your mind. Sleep requirements vary with age. Adults should aim for seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Adolescents need about an hour more, while elderly people an hour less. However, the exact amount of sleep each one of us needs differs from person to person. You know you are getting enough sleep when you wake up in the morning and feel as fresh as a daisy.

There are certain lifestyle habits that can help you improve your sleep. Going to bed the same time each night, but only when feeling tired, and waking the same time each morning should help you feel more rested overall. Avoiding stimulants, such as alcohol, caffeine and nicotine, before bedtime and reducing stress by engaging in activities, such as physical exercise or meditation, and eating light dinner several hours before bedtime can also help you feel well rested. If you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for more than a month, talk to your doctor. Sleeplessness can be also a symptom of another medical condition and it is usually treatable.

Where to Find More Information: Sleep Foundation on How Much Sleep We Need