We recently shared a press release from the Royal Society for Public Health regarding worries that the UK is becoming an increasingly sleep deprived nation. The study estimated that the UK population is under-sleeping by approximately 1 hour every night. So, what’s the big deal? Well, a lot apparently – there are many reasons why sleep experts recommend 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, here are the main ones:
The Immune System
Researchers in the UK and the Netherlands have recently examined the white blood cells present in individuals experiencing “healthy” sleep compared to a person experiencing sleep deprivation. Results show that there are distinct changes in the immune system of an individual is allowed to sleep for longer, suggesting that individuals regularly achieving at least 7 hours of sleep per night are more likely to be equipped to fight infection.
Sleeping more could help you maintain a healthy body weight. Investigations into the correlation between sleep and weight gain/ loss have been carried out at the University of Wisconsin Medical School. Findings stated: “The researchers found that people who slept less were on average heavier. And people who slept less had lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin, another hormone that controls food intake”.
Getting the recommended amount of sleep could work as a source of pain relief. Researchers have found that getting a good night’s sleep can supplement medication for pain treatment. Using sleep to combat pain is of course a lot healthier for the body, as it is a natural remedy.
Medical studies agree that a lack of sleep is linked to an increased heart rate. By retaining a lower heart rate, the body is able to decrease blood pressure and other chemicals which place unnecessary strain on the heart.
The brain needs sleep as a time to “recharge” and without this, it will lose certain capabilities which are taken for granted. Jodi A. Mindell, PhD professor of psychology at St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia says “Sleep loss affects how you think. It impairs your cognition, your attention and your decision making”.
Recently released data suggests that a lack of sleep can have the same effect on the body as being drunk. The research carried out in order to explore this phenomenon has revealed that after 17 hours without sleep, levels of alertness and wakefulness correlate to the effect of 0.05% of a blood alcohol concentration. After 24 hours without sleep this number increases to 0.1%. This may seem like a low number, however – when you consider that the legal drink driving limit is 0.08%, this research succeeds in highlighting the massive chemical effect lack of sleep has upon the body.
So perhaps that Sunday morning lie-in isn’t such a bad idea. Or a Monday morning lie-in… Or a Tuesday morning lie-in…
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