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What You Need to Know About Sleep

Posted on April 6, 2016 at 12:49 PM by Iowa Weight Loss Specialists

Although it’s unknown why we sleep, it’s obvious that it’s necessary and plays an important role on both our physical and mental health.


Too little sleep and one can become irritated, tired and even clumsy. Too much sleep and one can become depressed and gain weight.


The Bad:


Being overtired or oversleeping can cause the following health concerns:


Obesity: Overtired individuals make excuses to skip their workouts and make unhealthy food choices, making them more susceptible to gain weight. In regards to oversleeping, “One study showed that people who slept for 9 or 10 hours every night were 21% more likely to become obese over a six-year period” regardless of food consumption or exercise routine.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Sleep, along with being overweight or obese, is big factor in developing sleep apnea. Feelings of hunger and sleepiness often get confused, which can cause individuals to overeat when what they really need is a good night’s rest. Check out this post we did about sleep apnea.


Heart Disease: The exact connection between oversleeping and heart disease is still undetermined, but studies have shown that women that sleep more than nine hours at night are 38% more likely to develop heart disease.


Physical Injury: This one seems obvious, but sleep deprivation is a leading cause in many accidents. “The Institute of Medicine estimates that one out of five auto accidents in the U.S. results from drowsy driving -- that's about 1 million crashes a year.” You’re also more apt to fall, trip or hurt yourself doing simple household chores if you’re too tired.


Depression: Depression is affected by both lack of sleep and oversleeping. Insomnia is a big proponent of depression, but oversleeping has shown to make depression worse as well.


The Good:


Getting the right amount of sleep has many great health benefits, including:


Increased Memory: Our brains process memories while we sleep. Getting enough sleep allows our brains to fully process those memories for better recall. Sleep deprivation can lead to memory loss or “false” memories.


Weight Control: Getting the right amount of sleep can help you maintain your weight by keeping you energized and motivated to get to the gym and cook healthier meals.


Cognitive Ability: Getting the right amount of sleep helps with cognitive functions like problem-solving as well as helps one stay focused and on task.


Better Mood: You probably notice that you’re happier when you’re well-rested (and crankier when you’re not) and that’s because sleep helps with emotion regulation. The better sleep you get, the better your mood.


How much sleep one needs can vary from person to person, but doctors recommend adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.


How can you assure you get enough rest? Follow these tips for better sleep quality!

  1. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine at last 4-6 hours before bedtime.
  2. Maximize the bedroom by creating a comfortable space that is quiet, dark, and cool.
  3. Limit bedroom activities to sleep and intimacy. In other words, avoid TV, the computer and the phone!
  4. Establish a nightly routine and attempt to avoid any stressful or stimulating activities.
  5. Establish a consistent sleep schedule and try to keep napping to a minimum.
  6. Avoid late night meals.



Sources: WebMD


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