Why do we need to sleep? Countless research has been done on sleep and its effects on the human body but scientists have still not come to a definitive conclusion as to why we need to sleep. We do know that sleep influences your mood, your performance, decision making, digestive and hormonal function and is a performance enhancer. These factors can indirectly affect each other as well as your weight loss or weight gain goals. It is recommended that we get 7 to 9 hours a night but unfortunately this isn’t always the case.
Here are 4 reasons to strive for 7 to 9 hours a night:
1. Appetite Regulation
Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones associated with appetite control. If your sleep patterns are disturbed or you sleep less than 6 hours a night levels of leptin are reduced and levels of ghrelin increase. These differences increase appetite leading to a higher body mass index (BMI) which has been observed in people who sleep less.
2. Disease Risk
Lack of sleep is known to be a contributory factor to some chronic disease such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
3. Food Cravings
Sleep deprivation has been linked to a decrease in activity in the frontal cortex which is linked to how you evaluate what food you desire when making food choices.
4. Mental Health
Ideally, we go through 4 sleep cycles in a night, each lasting between 60 to 90 minutes. Each sleep cycle leads to the next finishing out with rapid eye movement (REM). Research has shown that adequate REM each night contributes to emotional health. Sleep deprivation will wreak havoc on your neurotransmitters and stress hormones which will have a knock-on effect on your mental health.
The CoachPACT.com client is typically a busy individual who may not prioritise sleep when it comes to performance. If you are not getting at least 7 hours, it might be time to focus on improving your sleep routine. Getting in 7 to 9 hours on a consistent basis will go a long way in helping you achieve your goals and quality of life. Remember, sleep is a performance enhancer and is one of the best forms of recovery for both the body and mind.