Five reasons to get a good night's sleep

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Brynna Gabrielson

Five reasons to get a good night's sleepThe clocks are going back this weekend, which means an extra hour of sleep! For many of us that extra hour is a fantastic treat - but did you know it could also be good for you?  Getting a good night's sleep is about more than being alert the next morning, it can also do a world of good for your health! Here are five reasons to make sure you're getting enough sleep every night.

Better your memory

It's been known for quite some time that sleep plays an important role in improving one's memory. In one study subjects who forgot information after 12 hours of being awake were twice as likely to remember the lost information after a night's sleep1 - showing that sleep helps with memory accessibility.  Furthermore, another study has shown how sleep helps us remember what we've learned in the day. Studying mice, and using advanced microscopes, scientists were able to witness new connections between brain cells being formed during sleep after the mice had been taught a new skill2

Live longer

In a study published by the scientific journal Sleep it was found that 30% of Britons are getting less than 6 hours a night of rest - contributing to a 12% increase in their risk of early death3.  The research reviewed 16 studies, spanning 25 years and looking at more than 1.3 million people4.  The researchers even deemed the link between less sleep and premature death 'unequivocal'. So while it may seem like a good idea to skimp on sleep in favour of other activities, it might be a better idea to allow yourself a bit more shut eye.  

Lose weight

A variety of studies over the years have linked poor sleep habits to weight gain and issues like obesity and diabetes. Several studies have linked sleeping less to eating more - including one study which found that those who slept less felt hungrier and also craved foods that were higher in fat and calories5. Other studies have found that getting enough sleep can help boost fat loss and lead to more calories being burned6.

Improve mental health

Lack of sleep can contribute to mental health issues including anxiety, stress and depression. In one study, it was found that those who don't sleep enough were 14% more likely to report symptoms of psychological distress7.  As well, researchers at UC Berkley found that lack of sleep can increase anticipatory anxiety by working up the regions of the brain that contribute to excessive worrying.8 This means that those who are more prone to worrying, and thus more likely to develop full blown anxiety disorders, are likely more vulnerable to lack of sleep.

Reduce your chances of catching a cold

As shared in our recent article Easy ways to prevent a cold, researchers in the US have found that those who sleep six hours or less a night are four times more likely to catch a cold than those who sleep for seven or more hours. So if you're hoping to avoid the sniffles, make sure to catch as much sleep time as possible. 


Sources

1. Telegraph: Struggling to remember something?
2. BBC: Sleep's memory role discovered
3. The Independent: Getting less than six hours sleep a night increases risk of early death
4. The Guardian: Sleeping less than six hours may cause early death, study finds
5. Best Health Mag: Why sleep helps you lose weight
6. Women's Health: 6 ways sleep can help you lose weight
7. Time: Lack of sleep linked with depression, weight gain and even death
8. Berkeley: Sleep deprivation boosts anticipatory anxiety

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