Sleep is More Important than you Realise. Why you need to get a Good Amount of Sleep, Every Night.

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

Your Sleep is extremely important to your Daily function and Long term Health. It simply can not be ignored and is an essential factor you must prioritise, for your overall wellbeing. Interestingly, your Sleep, Exercise and Diet are linked in numerous ways in your body. Looking after your Sleep will without question, benefit you when you are awake.

Does Bad Sleep Affect Me when I am Awake During the Day ?

I have seen thousands of patients over many years as a Specialist Sleep Physician. The majority of patients didn't know they had Sleep disorders, even if they were Tired or Sleepy to the point of falling asleep whilst driving. And that is worrying.

Many Studies have shown significant impairments in decision making, motor and verbal responses in those that are sleep deprived compared to normal.

Sleep disorders are often not all that obvious to many people, as they occur when we are not awake and therefore we fail to make the connection that there is a problem with our Sleep.

Thankfully, we have Partners , Sleep Aps , Sleep Doctors and Sleep Studies which allow us to record information and correctly diagnose Sleep disorders.


Sleep is important to how you function

What is Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is simply not getting enough sleep. The recommended is around 8 hours. Science is uncovering that its not just Sleep disorders such as Sleep Apnea and Insomnia that can cause serious Medical issues or damage to your Health. We will cover these medical issues in other posts as we are going to focus on Sleep Deprivation.

How can less sleep affect my health?

Studies have shown that even partial Sleep Deprivation has a significant effect on Mood and on your Health in a number of ways[1,5-9]. University of Pennsylvania Researchers, found that subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of Sleep a night for one week reported feeling more Stressed, Angry, Sad, and Mentally exhausted. When the subjects resumed Normal sleep, they reported a dramatic improvement in Mood.[1]

Many other studies have shown significant impairments to Verbal and Motor responses and Decision Making in those that were Sleep deprived compared to Control Subjects.

Can Bad Sleep Affect my Weight?

Scientists have shown that missing an hour or two from one nights sleep, can affect your Weight. A study showed significant changes to Leptin and Ghrelin concentrations, in those that were sleep deprived, even by just one hour, in one night.[12]. These two hormones are directly related to hunger, food seeking behaviour and weight gain. Those that had less sleep were seeking more food than subjects who had sufficient sleep, leading to weight gain. There are numerous studies which have proven significant links between Sleep deprivation, Poor Sleep and T2Diabetes and Obesity.[15-17]


So we can see, that Sleep Quality and Quantity are important factors in your Body Transformation and Weight Loss. [8,12]


Sleep Deprivation is Associated with many Medical Conditions

  • increased risk of hypertension,

  • diabetes,

  • obesity,

  • depression, and Mood disorders

  • heart attack, cardiovascular disease and

  • stroke.

After decades of research, the case can be confidently made that Sleep loss and disorders have profound and widespread effects on human health.


How To beat Sleep Deprivation

So what are some easy ways to stay on top of this and prevent it from affecting us ?

People who are Sleep deprived NEED to prioritise THEIR Sleep.

There is always some excuse, such as work or no time or too busy. If you want to change this poor perception that sleep is not a priority, you have to make the connection that Your Sleep is important and will affect you in "Wake time" as well. You simply cant neglect it. You will need to change something in your life, to get more time for sleep and to protect that time. It sounds easy but I know many people including Doctors, who DO NOT do this.


The first and biggest step is Recognising you have a problem and deciding to look after your sleep. If you look after your sleep, it will look after you. Sleep is there to help you.


Sleep Apps are a Great Start


Sleep Apps can assist some people to this regard and are a great tool if used correctly. There are many free Apps which can record your Sleep allowing you to make a Sleep Diary to keep track of how many Hours Sleep you are getting. This should probably be your first move, if you suspect you have a Sleep Problem and if you are unsure how much sleep you are getting. If you have a Smart Watch or Ring device to Couple with your Mobile Phone and the App, then that's even better, but a Phone should suffice to get the Data we need. A Sleep app that simply records data on sleep duration is the first step to developing an understanding that Sleep is a Priority, and even just recording the duration and monitoring this, will start the process.


Additionally, paying attention to Good "Sleep Hygiene Habits" is key to Good Sleep.

This is a whole post in itself that you can find on the website. These behavioural changes, help promote an understanding of Sleep importance and give you tools to protect that Sleep time.


What does Sleep Do For Me ?

Sleep is important to regulate many of your Body's systems. It is linked to your Mood and Mental State, Your Metabolism and Hunger and provides vital Recovery for the Muscles and the Mind.

We have known for a long time, Sleep is important for your Memory and Body recovery. Many studies have shown that NREM SWS* or "Deep Sleep" is linked to important Body Recovery mechanisms that allow the body to rest and recover. REM sleep**, when you Dream, is important for for the Mind and Memory consolidation.


When you improve your Sleep Quality, you will feel the benefits and translate that into increased functional performance. Additionally, Sleep is linked to other behaviours. Exercise has been shown to improve Sleep and provide Benefit in the setting of Poor Sleep. [9-11]


As I've said many times, Sleep, Diet and Exercise, are inextricably linked by numerous mechanisms in your body.[1-12] Check out the rest of our Blog Posts and Website for information on Body Transformation and the Importance of Your Sleep. Subscribe to stay informed of regular updates.



SWS*: Slow Wave Sleep / Deep Sleep [ NREM = Non Rapid Eye Movement]

REM**: Rapid Eye Movement


References

1.Dinges, D. et al., Cumulative Sleepiness, Mood Disturbance, and Psychomotor Vigilance Decrements During a Week of Sleep Restricted to 4 – 5 Hours Per Night, Sleep. 1997 Apr; 20 (4): 267–277.

2Breslau, N. et al., Sleep Disturbance and Psychiatric Disorders: A Longitudinal Epidemiological Study of Young Adults, Biological Psychiatry. Mar 1996; 39(6): 411–418.

Nofzinger, E., Functional Neuroimaging of Sleep, Seminars in Sleep Neurology. 2005 Mar; 25 (1): 9-18.

3.Neckelmann, D. et al., Chronic Insomnia as a Risk Factor for Developing Anxiety and Depression, Sleep. 2007; 30 (7): 873-880.

4.Rahmani M, et al The Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor: Missing Link Between Sleep Deprivation, Insomnia, and Depression. Neurochem Res. 2020 Feb;45(2):221-231.

5.Weissman, M. et al., The Morbidity of Insomnia Uncomplicated by Psychiatric Disorders, General Hospital Psychiatry.1997; 19(4): 245–250.

6.Shokri-Kojori E, et al. (2018).  β-Amyloid accumulation in the human brain after one night of sleep deprivation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

7.Rihm JS, et al. Sleep Deprivation Selectively Upregulates an Amygdala-Hypothalamic Circuit Involved in Food Reward. J Neurosci. 2019;39(5):888-899.

8.Zagaar M, et al. The beneficial effects of regular exercise on cognition in REM sleep deprivation: behavioral, electrophysiological and molecular evidence. Neurobiol Dis. 2012 Mar;45(3):1153-62. .

9.Zagaar M, et al. Regular treadmill exercise prevents sleep deprivation-induced disruption of synaptic plasticity and associated signalling cascade in the dentate gyrus. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2013 Sep;56:375-83.

10.Zagaar M,et al Regular exercise prevents sleep deprivation associated impairment of long-term memory and synaptic plasticity in the CA1 area of the hippocampus. Sleep. 2013 May 1;36(5):751-61.

11.Schmid SM, et al. A single night of sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger in normal-weight healthy men. J Sleep Res. 2008 Sep;17(3):331-4.

12.Duncan, et al. Efficacy of a Multi-component m-Health Weight-loss Intervention in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Int J Environ Res Public Health.2020;17(17):6200.

13. Aguiar EJ, et al. Efficacy of interventions that include diet, aerobic and resistance training components for type 2 diabetes prevention: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2014;11:2.

14. Chaput JP. Sleeping more to improve appetite and body weight control: dream or reality? Am J Clin Nutr 2015;101:5–6.

15. Buysse DJ. Sleep health: can we define it? Does it matter? Sleep 2014;37:9–17.

16. Marshall NS, Glozier N, Grunstein RR. Is sleep duration related to obesity? A critical review of the epidemiological evidence. Sleep Med Rev 2008;12:289–98.

17. Wu Y,et al. Sleep duration and obesity among adults: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Sleep Med 2014;15:1456–62.