Advertising
Advertising

5 Reasons Sleep Can Improve Your Lifestyle

5 Reasons Sleep Can Improve Your Lifestyle

Sleep is probably one of the most underrated factors that can be used to improve our health. Despite being extremely important, it rarely gets the attention it deserves.

Just how Leonardo DiCaprio never wins an Oscar.

Not paying attention to your sleep can lead to a reduction in both productivity and health. Paying attention to it is the easiest way to improve your lifestyle.

Here are five reasons sleep can improve your lifestyle:

1. Improved cognitive performance and memory.

Most people burn the midnight oil whenever they are studying for an exam or have to cram a whole lot of information into their brains.

What if I told you that your late night attempt to learn is counterproductive and you are probably better off sleeping? There are a couple ways sleep will enhance your cognitive performance and memory.

Advertising

Ensuring you are well-rested will help keep mental fatigue at bay. How else would you be able to focus and learn what’s important if mental fatigue is causing an inability to focus?

brain
    2. Sleep and skill acquisition.

    The second way is related to how our brain functions. Short term memory is stored in a part of the brain called the neocortex, while long term memory is stored in the hippocampus (Peigneux P. et al 2004).

    During sleep, information from the neocortex gets transferred into the hippocampus, creating a much more permanent storage. Hence, a well-rested brain will ensure proper mental function and an improved memory.

    It’s interesting to note that sleeping well will help us pick up new skills faster. Study subjects that had sleep deprivation had no problem performing and learning simple skills; however, as difficulty increased, the subjects who were sleep-deprived found it tougher to pick up a new skill (Landry S. et al 2014).

    Another study titled “The Relationship between Tennis Skill Acquisitions with Sleep Quality and Quality of Life” was performed on tennis players, showed that players who slept well were faster and more accurate than those who didn’t (Seferogu F. et al 2013).

    The takeaway is that sleep is highly important when it comes to learning something new, especially if what you’re going to learn is not that simple.

    Advertising

    fat guy

      3. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain.

      Lack of sleep can not only disrupt mental performance but it can also hamper physical performance. Lab studies have shown that an increase in sleep deprivation showed an increased risk of obesity and diabetes (Walsh N. et al 2011).

      A study called “Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity” demonstrated two groups of subject were put on a weight loss diet, the group which had sleep deprivation lost more weight from muscle instead of fat (Nedeltcheva AV et al 2010).

      The reason behind this could be potentially caused by changes in insulin resistance and glucose regulation. This means our body cannot process sugar as efficiently, which can lead to potential fat gain.

      The longer you’re awake, the higher the chance for you to eat something. And, most of the time, it isn’t going to be something “healthy”.

      4. Lack of sleep can lead to decreased immune function.

      When we sleep, our body produces a hormone called melatonin. This is a vital hormone that helps regulate our immune system. A lack of melatonin can lead to someone falling sick easily due to a weaken immune system. This is probably why you might see people who have not slept for a few nights are also those that are more prone to falling sick as well.

      There are also studies demonstrating that a lack of sleep can also increase the risk of cancer, heart disease and an increase in cholesterol levels (Marshall NS et al 2012).

      Advertising

      So if you want to take care of your health, you better be monitoring your sleep.

      5. Lack of sleep can reduce sex drive

      Our sex drive is regulated by a hormone called testosterone. This applies to both males and females. A reduction of 10-30% of testosterone can be seen in populations that are sleep deprived, not to mention that this reduction can be further magnified if sleep deprivation continues (Leproult R. et al 2011).

      This shows that if you lack sleep, a reduction in testosterone will lead to a reduction of your sex drive.

      So, to be good in bed, you actually need to spend more time in bed—sleeping.

      References:

      1. Peigneux P. et al 2004 Are Spatial Memories Strengthened in the Human Hippocampus during Slow Wave Sleep?

      Advertising

      2. Landry S. et al 2014 The impact of obstructive sleep apnea on motor skill acquisition and consolidation.

      3. Seferogu F. et al 2013 The Relationship between Tennis Skill Acquisitions with Sleep Quality and Quality of Life

      4. Walsh N et al 2011 Position statement. Part one: Immune function and exercise.

      5. Nedeltcheva AV et al 2010 Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity.

      6.  Marshall NS et al  2012 Sleep Apnea as an Independent Risk Factor for All-Cause Mortality: The Busselton Health Study

      7. Leproult R, Van Cauter E. 2011  Effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy men.

      Featured photo credit: Sleeping Man/Rudolf Vlček via flickr.com

      More by this author

      5 Reasons Sleep Can Improve Your Lifestyle 4 Start-Ups You Shouldn’t Try 7 Important Life Lessons from Disney’s “Frozen” 5 Time Management Tips That Will Improve Your Productivity And Your Health

      Trending in Health

      1 The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype 2 20 Easy and Healthy Breakfast Recipes for Rush Mornings 3 5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively 4 10 Easy Ways To Practice Mindfulness 5 3 Reasons Why Mental Health Is So Important

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on May 21, 2020

      The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

      The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

      You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

      Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

      Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

      An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

      Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

      1. The Paleo Diet

      The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

      The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

      In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

      Advertising

      How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

      The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

      With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

      It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

      Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

      2. Whole30

      The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

      With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

      During the month you are eliminating:

      Advertising

      • sugar
      • alcohol
      • legumes
      • grains
      • dairy
      • soy

      Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

      At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

      Finding Out How Food Impacts You

      Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

      With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

      This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

      3. The Mediterranean Diet

      The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

      For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

      Advertising

      With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

      • Fruits & vegetables
      • Whole grains
      • Legumes & nuts
      • Replacing butter with olive oil
      • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
      • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
      • Moderate amounts of red wine

      Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

      Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

      With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

      4. The Alkaline Diet

      The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

      The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

      Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

      The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

      Advertising

      People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

      One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

      Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

      There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

      The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

      What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

      The Big Takeaway:

      Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

      Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

      Reference

      Read Next