Seven Benefits of Rest and Sleep
Rest and Sleep
The number of peer-reviewed scientific journals related to sleep has more than tripled since 2005, and for good reason. Research has proven that sleep influences every component of your health and well-being (1). Recent research has linked sleep deprivation to everything from increased risk of arrhythmia to difficulties with weight management (2, 3). One of the foundations of a lifestyle that promotes health and vitality is getting adequate rest and sleep.
REST AND SLEEP
Here are some of the benefits of being well-rested:
Healthy Blood Pressure Levels
The term “nocturnal dipping” refers to the fact that your blood pressure drops during normal sleep. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure normally drop 10–20% while you are restfully sleeping compared to when you are awake. Having disordered sleeping patterns—whether you have issues going to or staying asleep, or early waking—results in having elevated blood pressure levels for longer periods of the day (4). Research shows that a decrease in nocturnal dipping increases risk for various cardiovascular issues and overall mortality (5).
Sleep has been linked to various measures of acute and chronic cognitive performance and health. Clinical research has shown that even low levels of sleep deprivation may impair attention and working memory, and in the long-term, increase risk for cognitive decline (15-17). It is believed that this is largely due to the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain that is particularly susceptible to the effects of disruptions in sleeping patterns and executive function (18).
A Strong Immune System
Your immune system is tasked with protecting your body from disease-causing pathogens, and that complex system of cells, organs, and proteins cannot effectively do its job if you are sleep deprived. Research has shown that your circadian system (internal system that regulates your sleep-wake cycle) and sleeping patterns impact your immune system in several different ways (9). Sleep deprivation can result in increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and inhibit activation of disease-fighting T-cells, decreasing the ability of your immune system to fight off toxic pathogens.
A Healthy Weight
Sleep deprivation has been linked to nearly every factor in weight management. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase the neurological desire to eat, lead to dysregulation of hunger and satiety hormones, make you less likely to exercise, and increase the overall risk for obesity (10-13).
Healthy Blood Sugar Regulation
It is estimated that approximately 70 million individuals in the U.S. are affected by insulin resistance, including more than 4 in 10 individuals over the age of 50 (6). Increased build-up of sugar in your blood is one of the primary risk factors for cardiovascular disease and early mortality (7). Research has also shown that it is a powerful link between impaired sleeping patterns and impaired glucose homeostasis (8).
Adherence to healthy sleeping patterns has been linked to increased lifespan. One clinical study of long-lived individuals (aged over 85) showed that strict sleep-wake schedules were more prevalent than in those with shorter lifespans (19). Furthermore, a large longitudinal cohort study showed that individuals who reported averaging five hours of sleep per night or less were at twice the risk for early death, especially from cardiovascular disease (20).
According to research, poor sleep hygiene (including sleep deprivation and disrupted sleep) is a significant risk factor for various mental health disorders (14). Those with less and lower quality sleep have been shown to be at increased risk for depression, mood instability, loneliness, and lower overall life happiness.
Extraordinary Importance of Sleep
Sleep and Hypertension
Calhoun D. and Harding S.
Insulin Resistance and Cardiovascular Disease
Ormazabel V., et al.
Reduced Sleep and Weight Gain in Women
Patel S., et al.
Bidirectional Relationship of Exercise and Sleep
Sleep and Neurodegeneration
Pillai J. and Leverenz J.
Sleep Deprivation on Cognition
OSA and Cardiac Arrythmogenesis
May A., et al.
The Ohasama Study
Ohkubo T., et al.
Sleep Disorders, Insulin Resistance and Obesity
Mesarwi O., et al.
Sleep Deprivation on Food Desire
Greer S., et al.
Sleep and Obesity in Adults and Children
Bonanno L., et al.
Neurocognitive Consequences of Sleep Deprivation
Goel N., et al.
Human Longevity and Regular Sleep Patterns
Mazzotti D., et al.
Sleep and Obesity
Beccuti G. and Pannain S.
Insulin Resistance Among U.S. Adolescents
Sleep and Immune Function
Besedovsky L., et al.
Short Sleep Suration and Increased BMI
Taheri S., et al.
Disrupted Circadian Rhythmicity and Cognitive Function
Lyall L., et al.
Alholla P. and Polo-Kantola P.
Health Inequalities Among British Servants
Marmot M., et al.