Sleep doesn't only make you look better, it's an essential requirement to make sure you stay healthy.  

We checked out the official line on why sleep matters as quoted by the UK National Health Service.  Here's their verdict on the seven main ways in which a good night's sleep can boost your health...  


1. Sleep can slim you down

Sleeping less can make you weigh more! Studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a day are 30% more likely to be obese than those who get nine hours of sleep or more. It’s believed to be because sleep-deprived people have reduced levels of leptin, the chemical that makes you feel full and increased levels of ghrelin, the hunger-stimulating hormone.  

2. Sleep boosts immunity

If you seem to catch every cold and flu that’s going around, your bedtime could be to blame. Prolonged lack of sleep can disrupt your immune system, so you’re less able to fend off bugs.  


3. Sleep boosts your mental wellbeing

Given that a single sleepless night can make you irritable and moody the following day, it’s not surprising that chronic sleep debt may lead to long-term mood disorders like depression and anxiety. When people with anxiety or depression were surveyed to calculate their sleeping habits, it turned out that most of them slept for less than six hours a night.  


4. Sleep prevents diabetes

Studies have suggested that people who usually sleep less than five hours a night have an increased risk of having or developing diabetes. It seems that missing out on deep sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by changing the way the body processes glucose, the high-energy carbohydrate that cells use for fuel.  


5. Sleep increases your sex drive

Men and women who don’t get enough quality sleep have lower libidos and less of an interest in having sex, research shows. Men who suffer from sleep apnoea – a disorder in which breathing difficulties lead to interrupted sleep – also tend to have lower testosterone levels, which can lower libido.  


6. Sleep wards off heart disease

Long-standing sleep deprivation seems to be associated with increased heart rate, an increase in blood pressure and higher levels of certain chemicals linked with inflammation, which may put extra strain on your heart.  


7. Sleep increases your fertility

Difficulty conceiving a baby has been claimed as one of the effects of sleep deprivation – in both men and women. Apparently, regular sleep disruptions can impair fertility by reducing the secretion of reproductive hormones. All pretty good reasons to invest in getting a good night's rest we think. 


Source: NHS Choices Livewell website.  Read the whole article here   For more information on how sleep can help you stay healthy and well check out this article from thesleepjudge.com