Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Benefits of Sleep

Sleep for weight loss. Sleep for learning and memory. Sleep for decreased inflammation. Can getting a good night's sleep really do all these things? Why, yes it can! Adequate sleep is needed for a healthy mind, body, and lifestyle.

Weight Loss and Hormones
The hormones Leptin and Ghrelin work to control your feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin stimulates your appetite and Leptin signals your body when you are full. When you don't get enough sleep, Leptin levels decrease, which means that you are less satisfied after you eat, and Ghrelin levels increase, which means your appetite is stimulated. What is boils down to is overeating. Those cream filled donuts and flavored chips are no match for your upset hormone levels!

Learning and Memory
Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory in a process called Memory Consolidation.  The consolidation process occurs when the brain forms new pathways for the information it encountered. When you learn or practice things, your brains runs through the pathways it created, making them deeper. Sleep then allows you to strengthen the "practice" skills you learned while you were awake.

Decreased Inflammation
Inflammation is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis. A decrease in sleep leads to an increase in the blood levels of inflammatory proteins (C-reactive Proteins). Sleeps also helps to strengthen your immune system so you can fight off those nasty colds.

Cardiovascular Health
Sleep deprivation has also been linked to high blood pressure and increased stress hormone levels.

Besides all of the benefits mentioned above, a good night's sleep is a contributor to better moods and increased safety (no more falling asleep at the wheel)! So snuggle on down for an 8 hour snooze!

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