For all you sleeping beauties out there you can finally stop feeling guilty when you have that midday siesta with research showing sleep keeps you young and is beneficial to your overall health.
If you’re looking for one biohack to implement today and start your biohacking journey then getting a good night’s sleep is it.
Well not so for many of us – myself included!
Who would have thought that laying your head down on a soft, fluffy, feather pillow and drifting gently off in to lala land could be so hard?
I think I must be the worst sleeping beauty on the planet. Getting a good night’s sleep is something I have struggled with for years. I put this down to training myself to be on high alert when I was a young mum and terrified that I might not hear my babies cry in the night. That pattern of behaviour is now ingrained causing me to wake up at the slightest noise.
I have tried and tested many sleeping hacks to improve my ability to get that essential rest, and it’s worth pursuing with more and more research linking sleep deprivation to serious illnesses.
Here are ten reasons why you should sleep more:
- Anti ageing – yes, that’s right ladies and gents – forget the botox – sleeping is the new youth drug. Ever wondered why you look like crap when you’ve had a bad night’s sleep? The body uses sleep as its primary way to heal and generate new cells to replace the ones that have been damaged. Sleeping leaves you looking rested and youthful, inside and out.
- Improves cognitive function – Sleep deprivation is linked to dementia and Alzheimers. In one study it was found that losing just one night’s sleep can lead to “an increase in beta-amyloid, a protein in the brain associated with impaired brain function and Alzheimer’s disease”. No wonder I feel dopey after a bad night’s sleep! Having a good night’s sleep ensures you’re at your peak cognitively. Find out more on how to improve your cognitive function in my podcast Busting myths on cognitive biohacks.
- Assists in muscle recovery following a workout – ever done a HIIT class and felt absolutely smashed? Many of us focus on getting the exercise done, but our focus on recovery is typically not so great. Sleep is essential to aiding muscle recovery. One study showed that sleep deprivation reduces protein synthesis decreasing the body’s ability to heal impacted muscles.
- Reduces obesity – wondering why you can’t lose those extra kilos even though you’re exercising and eating well? It might be linked to poor sleeping habits. Scientists are focusing more on the link between sleep deprivation and obesity with a study showing 55% of those assessed were more likely to develop obesity. It’s time to sleep away the kilos!
- Improves your physical performance – ever woken up feeling sluggish and just struggled to get going? Yep, it’s lack of sleep. Sleep fuels your body, generating energy and improves physical performance. And the older you get the more important it is to sleep well. Nearly 3000 women took part in a sleep deprivation assessment which found that poor sleep inhibited their basic physical capabilities like walking and grip strength. #staystrong
- Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke – regardless of your age or your weight, sleep deprivation can cause heart disease and stroke. While the reason for this is still under investigation, initial findings show sleep deprivation can trigger increases in glucose levels and blood pressure leading to heart disease or stroke.
- Reduces your risk of diabetes – short sleep duration has been shown to impact your blood sugar levels and increase your risk to diabetes in as a little as a week.
- Helps to prevent depression – not getting enough sleep leaves you feeling crappy generally, but did you know it can also increase your likelihood of depression? Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder linked to insomnia. So get the Z’s in and beat the blues!
- Beats inflammation – sleep loss has been strongly connected to increased inflammation in the body. When your body is inflamed, it causes cellular damage leading to diseases of the bowel, digestive track, and ageing.
- Protects your blood brain barrier – extreme biohacker Ben Greenfield has long spruiked the benefits of protecting the blood brain barrier, a layer between the brain and the body that protects against toxins and regulates inflammatory ctyokines to the brain. Sleep is just one of the ways you can protect your blood brain barrier leading to a reduction in neurotransmitter problems like brain fog, anxiety and insomnia.