In recent studies done by the NSF, National Sleep Foundation, researchers have found that over half of all Americans have some sort of sleep disorder. It is believed that most people need at least 8 hours of sleep to be well rested and healthy. There are some individuals who only need 6 hours and some that need up to 10 hours a night.

Lisa Shives, M.D. is the Medical Director of Northshore Sleep Medicine near Chicago. She says, “Just one hour less (of sleep) per night is enough to start to see impairment in people’s cognition and mood.” During restful sleep our bodies are able to go into a state of deep relaxation and R.E.M. sleep. This deep sleep allows our neurological, hormonal and digestive systems to slow down and reset themselves so we are healthier and happier.

5 Advantages to Getting Enough Zzzzzzzz’s:

1. Maintaining a Healthy Weight

When we are able to sleep enough, our digestion schedule is maintained, and we eat a more healthy diet. Scientists have studied the significance of the lack of good rest in the change of our digestive hormones. The less sleep we get the hungrier we become. The hormone, leptin, which controls appetite starts to decrease while the hormone, ghrelin, increases which increases our fat cells. When we start to lose regular sleep hours, our bodies begin to think that they need more food to survive, and weight gain can occur. Teenagers need even more sleep than young children and adults due to the large amount of changes occurring during growth spurts.

2. A Healthy Heart

A good night’s rest consistently allows the stress hormones in our bodies to stay at manageable levels, and this allows us to maintain a healthy heart. Physicians and Naturopaths have discovered a trend that cholesterol levels tend to increase when patterns in our sleep decrease. This makes us more susceptible to heart disease. So make sure you get enough Zzzzzz’s so you have a happy heart indeed!

3. Efficient Glucose

Regulation and Prevention of Diabetes A healthy night’s sleep allows our bodies to break down our food’s enzymes and metabolize our foods in a way that is beneficial to our health. Our glucose levels stay within a balanced range. The more sleep deprived we become, the harder it is for our bodies to digest sugar properly and can lead to incidence of hypoglycemia and diabetes.

4. Clarity of Thought

With ample rest, we think more clearly, we are able to process information more easily and our moods remain more balanced and regulated. This allows us to make better decisions for ourselves. Lack of sleep over long periods of time can lead to grogginess, foggy thoughts and poor decision making skills.

5. Experiencing Joy More Often

When we take care of ourselves, we feel better and are able to meet each moment in life with an open heart. Sleep deprivation and a decrease in mental clarity can often lead to depression because we are less able to handle stressful situations in a healthy way. Resting ourselves, our bodies and our minds lets us be happier in each moment.

Zzzzzzzzzz ……. Sleep well.