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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.

BENEFITS OF

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).

Cognitive Health

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).

Longer Life

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).

Mental Health

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.

Meeting recommended guidelines is one of the easiest and most effective ways to support your overall health and well-being. If you have concerns about your cognitive performance, mental health, or your weight management plan, meet with your Prime Meridian Healthcare provider to discuss your sleep habits and develop a customized care plan to help you get well and stay well.

References

1

Extraordinary Importance of Sleep

Worley S.

4

Sleep and Hypertension

Calhoun D. and Harding S.

7

Insulin Resistance and Cardiovascular Disease

Ormazabel V., et al.

10

Reduced Sleep and Weight Gain in Women

Patel S., et al.

13

Bidirectional Relationship of Exercise and Sleep

Kline C.

16

Sleep and Neurodegeneration

Pillai J. and Leverenz J.

19

Sleep Deprivation on Cognition

Kilgore W.

2

OSA and Cardiac Arrythmogenesis

May A., et al.

5

The Ohasama Study

Ohkubo T., et al.

8

Sleep Disorders, Insulin Resistance and Obesity

Mesarwi O., et al.

11

Sleep Deprivation on Food Desire

Greer S., et al.

14

Sleep and Obesity in Adults and Children

Bonanno L., et al.

17

Neurocognitive Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

Goel N., et al.

20

Human Longevity and Regular Sleep Patterns

Mazzotti D., et al.

3

Sleep and Obesity

Beccuti G. and Pannain S.

6

Insulin Resistance Among U.S. Adolescents

Lee J.

9

Sleep and Immune Function

Besedovsky L., et al.

12

Short Sleep Suration and Increased BMI

Taheri S., et al.

15

Disrupted Circadian Rhythmicity and Cognitive Function

Lyall L., et al.

18

Sleep Deprivation

Alholla P. and Polo-Kantola P.

21

Health Inequalities Among British Servants

Marmot M., et al.