21 Feb 5 Benefits of a good night’s sleep
We all know that sleep is crucial to our health and well-being. Proper sleep helps support and maintain our body’s systems.
Let’s take a moment to have a refresher on the benefits of sleep!
Better immune system
The relationship between sleep and immune function is a two-way street. It was found that the immune system can alter sleep, and sleep can alter the immune system1,2.
It was proven that lack of sleep increases inflammatory cytokines that weaken the immune system and lessen the production of antibodies making your immune system more vulnerable3,4. Thus, adequate sleep has been part of many recommendations to prevent inflammation and other infections.
Balanced Blood Sugar
It is a basic process of our body to increase blood sugar levels as we sleep5. However, sleep deprivation or sleep loss can increase our blood sugar levels long term, even while we are awake since it makes us more prone to insulin sensitivity, increases the amount of cortisol in our body, and heightens inflammation that can alter blood glucose 6,7.
Better mental clarity and health
Sleep helps keep our mind at its best functional state. One study found that speed of processing, sustained attention, working memory, and executive function are poorer in children and adolescents who report shorter sleep8. Sleep loss can decrease the activity of our brain in charge of planning, decision making, and moderating social behavior, as well as lead to functional disconnections9. Moreover, sleep loss prevents us from achieving the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage, which helps us process memories, especially the emotional ones10. Disrupted REM sleep can contribute to the development of negative memories and emotions, which our brain can interpret which then affects our mood11.
Better Life Productivity
Adequate sleep can help keep us productive throughout the day, when your body is well-rested you are more focused on your daily activities, whether it’s exercise or work. Sleep loss can make it more challenging to maintain focus, attention, and vigilance12. Chronic partial sleep deprivation leads to fatigue, which inevitably can lead to reductions in physical activity13.
Affects Weight Loss
Short sleep duration was associated with increased weight14. With less sleep, our hormones related to eating are also affected. Hunger and appetite scores of a sleep-deprived person were elevated, while leptin levels (the fullness hormone) were low, which means that the person is more inclined to consume more calories15. Moreover, food preferences of people with less sleep are high fat and high carbohydrate foods which can also lead to a higher calorie intake15,16.
These are just some of the benefits of getting enough sleep and why it is so important to prioritize getting adequate sleep. Take time to evaluate your current sleeping habits and lifestyle so you can make changes to build a better relationship with rest and to get the best possible sleep you can.
|Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD, CDE
Registered Dietitian/ Consultant
- Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Haack, M. (2019). The Sleep-Immune Crosstalk in Health and Disease. Physiological reviews, 99(3), 1325–1380. https://doi.org/10.1152/physrev.00010.2018
- Irwin MR, Wang M, Campomayor CO, Collado-Hidalgo A, Cole S . Sleep deprivation and activation of morning levels of cellular and genomic markers of inflammation. Arch Intern Med 166(16):1756-1762.
- Spiegel K, Sheridan JF, Van Cauter E . Effect of sleep deprivation on response to immunization. JAMA 288(12):1471-1472.
- Rains, J. L., & Jain, S. K. (2011). Oxidative stress, insulin signaling, and diabetes. Free radical biology & medicine, 50(5), 567–575. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2010.12.006
- Spiegel, K., Knutson, K., Leproult, R., Tasali, E., & Van Cauter, E. (2005). Sleep loss: a novel risk factor for insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 99(5), 2008–2019. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00660.2005
- Short, M. A., & Chee, M. W. L. (2019). Adolescent sleep restriction effects on cognition and mood. Progress in Brain Research. doi:10.1016/bs.pbr.2019.02.008
- Yoo, S.S., Gujar, N., Hu, P., Jolesz, F.A., Walker, M.P., 2007. The human emotional brain without sleep—a prefrontal amygdala disconnect. Curr. Biol. 17, R877–R878.
- Astill, R., Van der Heijden, K., Van IJzendoorn, M., Van Someren, E., 2012. Sleep, cognition, and behavioral problems in school-age children: a century of research meta-analyzed. Psychol. Bull. 138, 1109–1138.
- Harrington, M.O., Johnson, J.M., Croom, H.E., Pennington, K., Durrant, S.J., 2018. The influence of REM sleep and SWS on emotional memory consolidation in participants reporting depressive symptoms. Cortex 99, 281–295.
- Alhola, P., & Polo-Kantola, P. (2007). Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 3(5), 553–567.
- Dinges DF, Pack F., Williams K. et al. Cumulative sleepiness, mood disturbance, and psychomotor vigilance performance decrements during a week of sleep restricted to 4–5 hours per night. Sleep 1997; 20: 267–277.
- Patel, S. R., & Hu, F. B. (2008). Short sleep duration and weight gain: a systematic review. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 16(3), 643–653. https://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2007.118
- Gangwisch JE, Malaspina D., Boden-Albala B., Heymsfield SB. Inadequate sleep as a risk factor for obesity: analyses of the NHANES I. Sleep 2005; 28: 1289–1296.
- Spiegel K., Tasali E., Penev P., Van Cauter E.. Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite. Ann Intern Med 2004; 141: 846–850.