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The importance of sleep for health

A good nights sleep is so important for health. In fact it is just as important as a healthy diet and exercise. Unfortunately we all sleep less than we used to. Sleep plays an integral role in your physical health.

  • For example , sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk in heart disease and kidney disease.
  • Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity. It helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you’re well-rested.
  • Sleep also affects insulin levels, the hormone that controls your blood glucose level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level. This is why lack of sleep can increase diabetes risk
  • Sleep also supports healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults.
  • Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. This system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infect

the importance of sleep

Here are some tips for getting a good nights sleep:

  1. Regulate your body clock. Maintaining the same wake time seven days a week helps to regulate your sleeping pattern.
  2. Unplug from Social Media.Electronic gadgets stimulate our brains when we should naturally dipping into a sleeping state. Studies have shown that the light given off by screens prevents our brains from releasing melatonin meaning that we feel more awake at night than we should.
  3. Practice a relaxing night time ritual
  4. Exercise daily
  5. Avoid Caffeine late in the day
  6. Maintain a healthy balanced diet

A study published yesterday by the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science in UCD found that 67% of shift workers were skipping meals and that around 80% don’t get enough sleep. This study showed that there was a disruption in circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are there to protect the best physiological responses to eating and health and if you they are disrupted it’s going to increase the risk of illhealth. These tips above are especially important for those shift workers to lessen the impact.

With our busy  work and family life it is sometimes hard to prioritize good quality sleep but it is doing more for your health than you know.

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