Sleep is now widely acknowledged to be the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. If our sleep is out of kilter then every organ in our body suffers – from our heart, to our brain, to our skin. Here are just some of the reasons why better sleep will help you be more healthy
Sleep helps our heart stay healthy
Unhealthy sleep, unhealthy heart. Nice and easy to remember and, when you look at the facts, this simple summary is scarily true. Missed sleep means our heart rate never gets a rest. What's more, as our body becomes sleep deprived it craves sleep so much that it releases the stress hormone, cortisol. Our blood vessels contracts and our blood pressure actually increases, putting our vital organs under even more pressure. According to Matthew Walker - adults aged 45 and over who sleep fewer than 6 hrs a night are 200% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who sleep 7-8 hrs. Sleeping well isn't optional - it's the foundation for a healthy life.
Sleep helps us fight disease
Ever wondered why we feel tired when we get ill? It's because our immune and repair systems work best when we are sleeping. While we sleep, growth hormones are released. They help renew every cell in our body - from our skin to our vital organs. Sleep is the downtime our body needs to do its internal housekeeping and keep us functioning. As well as repair, sleep is when our immune system goes in to overdrive, fighting any potential threats from infection or sickness before they take hold. If we lack sleep, our body quickly becomes immunologically weaker and less able to fend off of fight off disease. Studies have shown that this makes us vulnerable to every day diseases such as the common cold but also makes it harder for our bodies to fight off cancer cells. Sleep is our body's way of keeping us fighting fit and disease free.