10 Ways Sleep Affects Your Health

Ways Sleep Affects Your Health

Getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis results in amazing benefits for your health and mind. Sleep affects your health in many positive ways. From memory to reduced stress to a better sex life, sleep rejuvenates and regenerates your body in a way like nothing else can. This is why lack of sleep can often lead to many health problems.

Sleep affects your health both positively and negatively in a number of different ways. However, since you likely already know how awful you feel when you’re running on the fumes of only 4 hours or less of sleep per night, let’s focus on the many positive ways sleep affects your health when you obtain sufficient rest.

Here Are 10 Ways Sleep Affects Your Health

1. Improved memory

Feeling forgetful? There’s likely nothing wrong with your mind. It’s probably lack of sleep that’s too blame. Sleep affects your health both mentally and physically. During sleep, our brains process and merge the memories we’ve collected throughout the day. If you get insufficient sleep, some of these memories may not be stored correctly and they may be lost. More importantly, proper sleep affects your health in regard to memory in another important way. It can reduce the chances of developing false memories.

2. Better weight control

Do you want to lose weight or are you working on managing your weight loss? If so, sleep goes a long way in helping you achieve either of these goals. Sleep affects your health when it comes to body weight. According to researchers at the University of Chicago, dieters who were well rested lost more fat (56% of their weight loss) compared to those who were deprived of sleep. In fact, those who were deprived of sleep also lost more muscle mass. What’s more, lack of sleep affects your health by raising cortisol levels, resulting in the body storing more fat, which can contribute to weight gain.

3. Increased energy

When you get your 7 – 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis, your body naturally has more energy. Not only does this mean sleep affects your health by making you more alert and by boosting your energy levels, but you will also likely feel more motivated to engage in physical activities. This can be highly beneficial when it comes to maintaining a regular exercise routine for both health and weight loss. Plus, when you’re more inclined to workout, if you’re also taking a fat burning supplement, you’re far more likely to get the biggest benefits from it.

4. Improves Clarity of Thought

Speaking of being alert, sleep affects your health by boosting thought clarity. According to WebMD, studies have found that when a person is sleep deprived, they are notably worse at solving math or logic problems compared to when they have had a good night’s rest. Additionally, they are far more likely to make abnormal and peculiar mistakes, such as leaving their keys in strange places, like the fridge.

5. Gives your mood a boost

There’s no guarantee that getting a quality night’s rest is going to ensure that you wake up pumped full of positive energy. However, when you’re not exhausted, you’re typically less cranky and more willing to let little annoyances slide. Sleep affects your health by helping to regulate your mood. You’re far less likely to have mood swings, such as blowing up at your partner or randomly bursting into tears. In short, you’re less irritable overall.

6. Improves sex life

Yes, sleep affects your health in regard to your sex life, too. Up to 26% of people polled by the National Sleep Foundation said that their sex life was negatively impacted by lack of sleep. Even testosterone levels in men may be lowered by poor sleep. That being said, ultimately, when you get enough sleep, you have more energy, which means you’re far more likely to be interested in sex and stay awake long enough to engage in the activity. A better sex life tends to make for healthier and happier relationships.

7. Reduces pain

Many studies have found a correlation between lack of sleep and a reduced pain threshold. Sufficient sleep affects your health by potentially easing acute pain from injuries as well as chronic pain. Of course, if you are suffering from chronic pain, this may make it harder for you to sleep. In this case, you may want to consider talking with your healthcare provider about medications that contain both a pain reliever and sleep aid, to help you get the healing rest you need.

8. Decreases risk of injury

Have you ever noticed that when you haven’t had enough sleep you tend to be less coordinated, graceful and sure-footed? When you’re overtired, you’re much more likely to trip, fall, walk into things or cut yourself when using sharp objects. Proper sleep affects your health by improving your mental alertness, coordination, balance, and overall general awareness of your environment. All of these can help you avoid common workplace and household accidents.

9. Reduces stress

As previously mentioned, lack of sleep can boost cortisol levels. Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone” due to its connection to the stress response. One of the major ways lack of sleep affects your health is an increase in stress. In addition to having a negative effect on your weight, stress can increase your blood pressure and negatively impact your mental health. It can increase anxiety, nervousness, depression and unbalance your mood. Regular, quality sleep helps to keep stress under control, making it easier for you to cope with stressful circumstances without blowing the situation out of proportion.

10. Improves lifespan

Want to live longer? Work on getting that quality sleep. Chronic lack of sleep has been linked to a shortened lifespan. It should also be noted that sleep affects your health by helping to prevent and help fight several diseases. Among these include certain types of cancers, cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. That being said, do keep in mind that health risks that may occur from lack of sleep typically only become serious after years of poor sleep.

Final Thoughts About How Sleep Affects Your Health

Good or bad, there’s no question that sleep affects your health in one way or another. Therefore, it’s important that you do everything you can to ensure that you receive proper rest as regularly as possible.

For the average adult to enjoy the many benefits sleep has to offer, they should be obtaining 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. If you rarely get this much sleep, it’s likely time for you to look into improving your sleeping habits.

This could simply be a matter of establishing a proper sleep schedule (going to bed and waking up at the same times every day) and unwinding an hour or two before bed. Many people also benefit from a science-based sleep aid on nights when they struggle a bit more than usual.  These can help to make your mind and body more restful, so you can drift off and stay sleeping at night without feeling groggy the next morning.

On the other hand, if you suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, this may be due to a medical condition, such as sleep apnea, heartburn, diabetes, respiratory problems, thyroid disease or mental health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about your sleep struggles if you are finding that your sleep affects your health in a negative and debilitating way.

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