Come on… Is sleep really that important?

We all love a good night’s sleep. We wake up feeling fresh and invigorated, ready to start the day! I venture to guess, this doesn’t happen every night for you. I know it doesn’t for me. Sometimes I’m up too late getting work done (or watching my favorite show). Our busy lives are getting in the way of healthy sleep patterns. But does it really matter … is a good night’s sleep more important than just waking up refreshed?

What if I told you sleep is just as important to your routine as what you eat and how you exercise?

(Some information shared from Joe Leech, Healthline)There have been many studies done on sleep patterns-duration and quality and this is a compilation.


1. Poor sleep can make you fat

Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain. In one extensive review study, children and adults with short sleep duration were 89% and 55% more likely to become obese.

2. Good sleepers tend to eat fewer calories

Studies have shown that sleep-deprived people have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories. Poor sleep effects hormones that regulate appetite. Those who get adequate sleep tend to eat fewer calories than those who don’t.


3. Good sleep can improve concentration and productivity

Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function including cognition, concentration, productivity and performance. A study on medical interns provides a good example: interns on a traditional schedule with extended work hours of more than 24-hours made 36% more serious medical errors than interns on a schedule that allowed more sleep. Another study found that short sleep can negatively impact some aspects of brain function to a similar degree as alcohol intoxication.


4. Good sleep can maximize athletic performance

Less sleep duration has also been associated with poor exercise performance and functional limitation in elderly women. A study in over 2,800 women found that poor sleep was linked to slower walking, lower grip strength and greater difficulty performing independent activities

5. Poor sleepers have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke

Sleep quality and duration can have a major effect on many health factors. A review of 15 studies found that people who don’t get enough sleep are at a far greater risk of heart disease or stroke than those who sleep 7-8 hours per night.

6. Sleep affects glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes

In a study in healthy young men, restricting sleep to four hours per night for six nights in a row caused symptoms of prediabetes. Sleep deprivation can cause prediabetes in healthy adults in as little as six days. Many studies show a strong link between short sleep duration and type 2 diabetes.


7. Poor sleep is linked to depression

Mental health issues, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders. It has been estimated that 90% of people with depression complain about sleep quality. Poor sleep is often associated with an increased risk of death by suicide.



8. Sleep improves your immune function

Even a small loss of sleep has been shown to impair immune function.  Getting at least 8-hours of sleep can improve your immune function and help fight the common cold

9. Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation

Sleep can have a major effect on inflammation in your body. In fact, sleep loss is known to activate undesirable markers of inflammation and cell damage. Poor sleep has been strongly linked to long-term inflammation of the digestive tract, in disorders known as inflammatory bowel diseases.


10. Sleep affects emotions and social interactions

Sleep loss reduces your ability to interact socially. Several studies confirmed this using emotional facial recognition tests. Researchers believe that poor sleep affects your ability to recognize important social cues and process emotional information.


Studies have shown us that good sleep is just as important to our health as hydration, healthy eating and exercise.

 If you’re struggling to lose that extra 10-pounds, or don’t understand why ‘nothing seems to be working’ – look at your lifestyle. Are you getting enough good sleep?


Kirsten Quick