Healthy is the New Wealthy-Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
    Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

    Most of us don’t get enough rest and believe it or not, sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your health; and if you’re trying to lose weight, lack of sleep can make it very difficult to do so.
    Less than 6 hours of sleep a night on a regular basis, can cause havoc on your body by increasing weight gain which may lead to obesity and the many ailments that come along with it. Lack of sleep also affects your mind by impairing memory and cognitive functions.
    Not getting enough sleep can make you more susceptible to getting sick. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that antibodies in sleep-deprived people who had received a vaccine were about 50 percent weaker than those in well-rested people. Skipping on just a few hours of sleep can also spike blood levels of C-reactive protein, which is a marker for heart disease risk as found by Harvard researchers. In particular, lack of sleep doubled the risk of death by cardiovascular disease.
    The risks for the following diseases also increase due to sleeplessness: heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, depression and even cancer. While sleeping, your body produces melatonin, a hormone which helps regulate your sleep cycle. A 2007 University of Texas study review found that not only does melatonin detoxify harmful, cancer-causing free radicals, but it actually creates more antioxidants.
    The importance of sleep is also true in regards to weight. Studies have shown that lack of sleep affects two appetite-related hormones, leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is a hormone which controls appetite and is reduced if you’re not sleeping enough and ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite and it increases if you lack enough sleep.
    An increase in hunger and appetite also seems to be related to lack of sleep. When you are sleep deprived, you are more likely to crave for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. It has been suggested that adequate sleep be a standard part of weight loss programs.
    Lack of sleep has also been linked to obesity. A 2007 Canadian study found that people with a deprivation of sleep, those who get only 5 or 6 hours a night, increase their likelihood of being overweight by 69 percent, as compared with those who regularly get 7 or 8 hours a night. “Some research has suggested that sleep restriction over many years may affect metabolism, increasing the risk of obesity and type-2 diabetes,” says Siobhan Banks, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.
    These days we are all trying to get healthy and getting adequate sleep on a regular basis has to be implemented into our healthier lifestyles in order to obtain the optimum health we are striving for. Sleep well.


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