Sleep is something we often either take for granted, or struggle with, or try to get away with doing as little as possible...
Yet it's SO important for health!!
There's a good reason sleep is one of the six pillars of lifestyle medicine - our bodies literally cannot function without it.
Did you know people can actually survive longer without food and water than they can without sleep?
When we sleep, our bodies perform multiple functions they cannot do effectively while we're awake, including:
▪️repairing or removing damaged cells
▪️cleaning metabolic waste from the brain
▪️healing the gut lining and gut wall
▪️consolidating memories and creating or pruning neural connections
▪️helping the immune system to function more effectively
▪️repairing skin and stimulating skin cell and collagen production (beauty sleep is a real thing!)
Sleep also has a huge impact on metabolism, including :
▪️regulating blood sugar control (especially important for diabetics)
▪️altering our 'hunger' hormones, which then affects food choices and appetite (we tend to choose less healthy foods and eat more when sleep deprived)
▪️reducing blood pressure and heart rate, which reduces workload on the heart (allowing it to rest slightly)
▪️ improving energy production
Sleep is vital for good mental and physical health, and lack of sleep literally makes your body and brain age faster.
If you are chronically sleep deprived, it reduces your life expectancy by up to 13 %
Sleep deprivation is also a significant risk factor for many diseases
It increases the risk of:
▪️heart disease (by up to 48%)
▪️diabetes (by up to 3 times)
▪️dementia (by 33%)
▪️bowel cancer (by 36%)
▪️obesity (by 50%)
If you are sleep deprived you are also 3x more likely to catch a cold!!!
And its a significant contributer to fatal car crashes, reduced work productivity, and people needing to take time off work
Fortunately, often some simple changes can make a huge difference - see my post on circadian rhythm for tips for good sleep
If you don't prioritise sleep, it's never too late to start ❤️