Fri | Dec 14, 2018

Fit 4 Life | Sleep on health

Published:Tuesday | November 20, 2018 | 11:12 PMMarvin Gordon/Contributor
Persons who make a habit of sleeping for less than six hours faced a 12 per cent higher risk of premature death. Persons who consistently slept for more than nine hours, faced a 30 per cent higher risk - Journal Sleep

 

In today's world, it seems there are never enough hours in the day. We have so much to do each day, and sleep tends to be the area that gets the least attention.

'Project deadlines approaching? Pull a couple of all-nighters.' 'Wanna workout? Wake up an hour earlier.'

Cutting back on sleep, however, can be one of the worst moves for your health. Lack of sleep can induce a host of negative impacts, ranging from fatigue and obesity to disease.

HOW MUCH SLEEP?

Most people are aware of the seven-to-eight-hour sleep recommendation. Isn't more sleep better, though? And, can it really be that bad to shave a few hours off?

The findings of a study published in the Journal Sleep sum it up best. Persons who make a habit of sleeping for less than six hours faced a 12 per cent higher risk of premature death. Persons who consistently slept for more than nine hours, faced a 30 per cent higher risk.

Here are some of the reasons you need a good night's rest:

GROW MUSCLES

During sleep, growth hormone secretion peaks. Growth hormone influences the development and rebuilding of tissue, including muscle.

REDUCE BODY FAT

Losing sleep attacks healthy body composition from several angles, including:

- It reduces insulin sensitivity, thereby increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes

- It increases cortisol, which may lead to weight gain

- It can induce cravings and lead to overeating

BOOST PERFORMANCE

Lack of sleep leads to fatigue and affects performance in all areas, including fitness training. Lack of sleep takes a toll on the central nervous system, leading to reduced focus, slower reaction times, lower power output, and other performance-dampening effects.

PREVENT DISEASE

Lack of sleep compromises immune function, leaving us more susceptible to diseases. A weakened immune system will also find it harder to overcome diseases, leading to longer recovery times and more severe symptoms.

MANAGE APPETITE

Lack of sleep may induce cravings and feelings of hunger. Studies have also shown that fatigued people tend to eat more carbs, sugars.

IMPROVE MEMORY AND LEARNING

One of the most documented benefits of sleep is its impact on memory. Adequate sleep improves memory and creative thinking. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, leads to impaired judgement and interpretation, and trouble accessing memories.

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email: marvin.gordon@physiqueandfunction.com; yourhealth@gleanerjm.com