Why sleep is important

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Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

The way you feel while you are awake depends in part on what happens while you are sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.

The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash), or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others. Sleep is an essential component of any fat loss or body building program.

 

Physical Health

 

Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. For example, sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity. For example, one study of teenagers showed that with each hour of sleep lost, the odds of becoming obese went up. Sleep deficiency increases the risk of obesity in other age groups as well.

 

 

Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (Ghrelin) or full (Leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of Ghrelin goes up and your level of Leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you are well rested.

Sleep also affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.
Sleep also supports healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults. Sleep also plays a role in puberty and fertility.

Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. This system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you are sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections.

 

How much sleep do you need?

 

The National Sleep Foundations recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day.

 

 

Body Building and Sleep

 

As bodybuilders we are constantly on the lookout for new and effective ways to gain muscle. The latest supplement, a sophisticated training routine, a new diet. Granted, all of these things are crucially important but what is possibly most important of all is sleep.

The best training routine, diet and supplement program will not compensate for insufficient rest, and sleep is the best, and only (in some instances), way of getting this rest. Without adequate rest your body will fail to adapt.

During sleep, growth hormone is produced and protein synthesis (provided protein is consumed prior to sleep) occurs. These are only two beneficial aspects of sleep. Energy consumption reduction and brain cell restoration are two other aspects equally important for bodybuilders.

 

Sleep and Weight Gain

 

Think about it: If you’re feeling sleepy at work, you may be tempted to reach for a cup of coffee (or several cups) and a doughnut for a quick shot of energy. Later you may skip the gym and pick up takeout on your way home to your family — no time to cook. When you finally find yourself back in your bed, you are too wound up to sleep. It is a vicious cycle, and eventually this sleep deprivation can sabotage your waistline and your health.

 

Daytime Performance and Safety

 

Getting enough quality sleep at the right times helps you function well throughout the day. People who are sleep deficient are less productive at work and school. They take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes.

After several nights of losing sleep—even a loss of just 1–2 hours per night—your ability to function suffers as if you haven’t slept at all for a day or two.

 

Healthy Brain Function and Emotional Well-Being

 

Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information.

Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.

 

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1 Comment

  • Selva May 8, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    We never give importance to sleep and we always take it for granted. Your write up proves that good sufficient sleep is also a good passive excercise for the body. Your example of how a disturbed sleep leads to body weight is a real practical example.

    Well done Jayashree.

    Reply

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