We should all know by now that getting a good night’s sleep is vital to our health. It is, in fact, just as critical as exercising and eating right. The unfortunate thing is that our environment is actually interfering with our natural patterns of sleep. People now actually get less sleep than people in the past, and the sleep they do get is not good quality sleep. Here is a look at one of the things you can do to get good sleep, what might happen if you don’t, and why it is so important.
The Mattress Counts
If you frequently wake up with strained muscles or a crick in your neck, it might just be time to head to your local mattress store and buy a new mattress. If you have a mattress that does not give you adequate support when you sleep, your spine and neck will not be aligned properly. This can strain the muscles and leave you to wake up exhausted and having difficulty functioning at 100%. It is vital that you have a mattress that gives you support and allows for good body contouring so that your pressure points get relief. There is seemingly no end to your choices too. Choose between different levels of thickness and support, and even from different materials. If you happen to be allergic to latex or foam, do a bit of research to determine which options would be best for you. The bottom line here is that a good mattress is critical to a good night’s sleep.
A Dire Consequence
One of the major bodily functions that can be adversely affected by irregular sleep has to do with your metabolic function. If you have a variety of times that you go to sleep, as opposed to going to sleep at the same time each night, this has been associated with higher resistance to insulin as well as with a higher BMI (Body Mass Index). A major consequence of this can be an increased risk of developing diabetes. This is just one of the surprising sleep-related health problems.
This is Your Brain on Sleep
You might not realize this, but your brain is working, even when you are sleeping. While you are asleep, your brain works to practice skills it learned during your waking hours and strengthens memory. This is a process known as consolidation. When you try to learn new things, be it mental or physical, to a certain degree, it is learned through practice. However, something occurs in your brain while you sleep that helps you to learn whatever it is even better. What this means is that whether you are trying to learn a backstroke or Spanish, you will do it better after a good night’s sleep.
Sleep and Weight
Consistently getting poor sleep has been linked to gaining weight. People who have a short duration of sleep tend to have a weight that is significantly higher than that of people who sleep well and sleep longer. In fact, a short duration of sleep happens to be one of the very strongest risk factors associated with obesity. In one study, both adults and children who had a short duration of sleep were found to be 55% and 89% respectively, more likely to gain weight and become obese. The effect that sleep has in regards to gaining weight is thought to be mediated by a number of factors that include things like motivation to get up and exercise, and hormones. If you want to lose weight, it is vital that you get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep and Caloric Intake
There have been other studies that have shown that individuals who are sleep deprived tend to have bigger appetites and because of this, they are more likely to consume larger amounts of calories. Sleep deprivation can disrupt those daily fluctuations with regard to your appetite hormones and is thought to cause poor regulation of appetite. This can include maintaining higher levels of a hormone called ghrelin, that is an appetite stimulant, and reduced levels of a hormone called leptin, which suppresses the appetite. All this means that poor sleep affects those hormones that regulate your appetite.