Why Sleep Matters to Your Health and Weight in the New Year
January 15, 2022

why sleep matters for health

In this SHAREFIT Guide, you’ll learn all about why sleep matters to virtually every health-related goal you’ve set for yourself, including your weight loss.  Getting the rest we need is integral to being able to reach our wellness goals but at the same time, the majority of us don’t take it nearly seriously enough.

Since it seems like idle time, most of us don’t make a priority of it. When something in our schedule needs to be sacrificed, that’s all too often it. Here’s why this year is the best time to change that habit.

Understanding Why Sleep Matters

Do you find that you have to pry yourself out of bed in the morning? Has all your energy essentially been used up by the early afternoon? Do you promise yourself you’ll go to bed earlier, only to let yourself fall asleep on the couch as you swipe through your social media and watch “just one more” episode of that show you’re binging? This is exactly what happens to many of us, no matter why sleep matters to every part of our health and wellbeing.

The interesting thing about why sleep matters is that while it affects pretty much every part of the way our bodies and minds function, we tend to only perceive a lack of quality rest as sleepiness.  We have low energy levels.  The fact is that it goes so much deeper than that.

Insufficient sleep does indeed sap our energy stores, but it also changes our thoughts, cognitive abilities, mood, behaviors, and our risk of a spectrum of diseases and illnesses.

Skipping the rest we need works in direct opposition to the vast majority of our goals, even in terms of productivity. That’s right, when you stay up late to get more done, you’re actually reducing the amount you’ll get done the next day!

Why Sleep Matters to Your Weight Loss

Poor quality or too little rest play a massive role in your weight control. Research has shown why sleep matters in this area, as inadequate rest boosts the body’s obesity risk by about 15 percent.

There are many reasons for this relationship.  They include – but are not limited to – the following:

  • Craving “comfort” foods higher in sugars, fats and calories
  • Poor emotional coping
  • Stress eating due to the poor emotional coping
  • Less drive and energy to remain physically active
  • Reduced workout performance due to fatigue

We Need Rest to Reach Our Health Goals

Research shows that when we aren’t well rested, we overeat, we make poor nutrition choices, we’re not as physically active, we don’t perform well when we are physically active, and many other drawbacks. Not only does poor nutrition and physical activity lead to its own list of health risks, such as obesity or even some cancers, but it simply going without sleeping enough on a regular basis also comes with its own package of health risks.

Science is only at the tip of the iceberg in understanding why sleep matters to so many different parts of our health and wellbeing. That said, what is clear is that people with chronic sleeping issues are at an increased risk of everything from heart disease, heart attack and stroke to diabetes, some cancers, and many mental health conditions.

While we may think that a decrease in energy and possibly mental sharpness is the only drawback of inadequate sleep, it clearly goes much deeper than this.

As a result, it’s typically recommended that we all make a higher priority of getting enough sleep on a regular basis.  This can include steps such as:

  • Sticking to a set bedtime every day
  • Keeping a set waking time every day
  • Occasionally using a sleep supplement when sleeping is a struggle, particularly one with melatonin.
  • Maintaining a regular bedtime routine
  • Sleeping in a dark, quiet, cool room (or using blackout curtains and a sleep mask, etc, to help achieve that environment).

All set to be well rested now that you know why sleep matters so much? Great! Now you’re also ready to move on to the SHAREFIT Guide to a Healthier You in the New Year: Optimizing Nutrition.

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