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Why sleep really is the best medicine

Published on 21/03/2017

March is National Bed Month, and we all know that getting a good night’s kip benefits us mentally. Having sufficient sleep lowers stress levels, improves our mood and boosts concentration. But did you know that sleep is good for your physical health too? Here are some of the ways in which your body might be at risk if you don’t make slumber your number one priority:

1. Heart problems

Long-term sleep deprivation can lead to high blood pressure, putting you at increased risk of heart disease or stroke. Sleep is believed to help blood regulate stress hormones and help the nervous system stay healthy, and it’s thought that regularly getting less than six hours’ sleep can hurt the body's ability to do this effectively, resulting in high blood pressure.

2. Diabetes

Research has shown a link between diabetes and sleep patterns, with Diabetes UK reporting that people who have the condition and don’t sleep well have higher resistance to insulin. Research shows that diabetics who are poor sleepers have higher blood glucose levels and higher blood insulin levels in the morning than diabetics who sleep well, leading to a greater risk of complications and even lower life expectancy.

3. Colds and minor ailments

Sleep boosts the immune system, which in turn helps you fight off colds, flu and other infections. It’s also thought to increase the effectiveness of vaccines by developing antibody responses. Recent research from the Sleep Council into the effects on children of a lack of sleep revealed four in 10 teachers as believing being tired made pupils more susceptible to coughs and colds.

4. Chronic pain

Sleeping well can improve the quality of life of those living with chronic pain - although, of course, chronic pain can stop sufferers getting to sleep in the first place. Using a body pillow to reinforce a new sleeping position, practising mindfulness and relaxation techniques and following a good sleep hygiene pattern can all help towards getting more rest.

5. Weight gain

Poor sleep can cause you to pile on the pounds, which in turn can have a number of adverse effects on your health. That’s because sleeplessness decreases a hormone called leptin, which tells the body when it’s full. Not only will you want to eat more but you’re also more likely to choose poor options, as we crave sugary snacks and drinks when tired and cranky.

For help and advice on getting a better night’s sleep, visit The Sleep Council.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2017

Categories:  Health
Why sleep really is the best medicineMarch is National Bed Month, and we all know that getting a good night’s kip benefits us mentally. Having sufficient sleep lowers stre    tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile

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