Scientific research has shown that poor sleep habits carry many consequences that could ultimately put our health at serious risk in a number of ways.
The Woman Post | Daniel Vargas Bozzetto
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World Sleep Day is organized by the World Sleep Society every year before Spring Vernal Equinox. Let's take a look at the health benefits of getting a full night's sleep.
Almost a third of our lives are spent sleeping, or at least, we should. Today, people are getting worse and worse. Technology has a lot to do with that, as devices keep us awake until ungodly hours, and then blue light from screens keeps us from falling asleep. However, being awake and rested has never been more important than today, given the hectic pace of life in postmodern society. Let's rediscover how important it is to sleep well by knowing the following benefits of adequate rest:
1. Larger Testicles and Testosterone Levels
In a revealing talk by Ted, neurologist and scientist Matt Walker said that "men who sleep five hours a night have significantly smaller testicles than those who sleep seven hours or more and men who usually sleep four to five hours a night. They will have a testosterone level that is that of someone 10 years older than him."
Although more studies involving sleep manipulation are needed to learn more about the causes, one study has shown that "there is a positive linear relationship and a possible inverse U-shaped relationship between sleep duration and testicle volume."
2. Protect the Heart
One of the questions cardiologists ask patients who sit at their desks the most is: do you sleep well? According to the European Heart Journal, people who get little or no sleep are almost three times more likely to suffer from heart problems, such as heart failure. The main benefit of adequate sleep for heart health is a decrease in heart rate, which allows this vital organ to rest as long as it needs.
A 2017 study revealed that poor quality and quantity of sleep are associated with ischemic heart disease (IC) and stroke. Other than that, regular lack of sleep can lead to an increase in stress hormones like cortisol, which forces our heart to work harder. Also, lack of sleep has been linked to higher cholesterol levels, which is a major risk for cardiovascular health.
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Thus, the simplest way to keep the cardiologist away is to take care of our heart by lying in bed and letting sleep take over.
3. Prevents Cancer
It is well known that cancer affects the quality and quantity of sleep, as treatment and pain sometimes make it very difficult for patients to sleep, but research has shown that poor sleep can cause cancer. A study published in Cancer Research has shown that sleep fragmentation (SF) accelerates tumor growth. The Sleep Foundation, for its part, also speaks of good rest as a key factor in cancer prevention: "although it is impossible to eliminate the risk of cancer", high-quality sleep can be a "protective factor." Evidence has revealed that "sleep duration, sleep quality, circadian rhythm, and sleep disturbances can affect cancer risk."
4. Keeps Cognitive Disorders at Bay
It is well known that lack of sleep in adults, but also in children, is the cause of attention deficit and hyperactivity, which leads to low productivity and ultimately low self-esteem. Therefore, resting well is essential to give the best of ourselves in each activity.
The Medical Director of the SleepWell Center in Madison, Dr. Mark Benton says that "any sleep deprivation situation based on not getting enough sleep or sleeping poorly will affect you cognitively." Having five to six hours of sleep a night constantly ends up accumulating a debt that finally makes us work "like someone who has not slept all night before."
Apart from that, poor sleeping habits have been shown to contribute to the aggravation of mental disorders such as depression or anxiety. Inevitably, being tired, one tends to ruminate and be overwhelmed by the slightest difficulty.
5. Aesthetic Enhancement
A study published in the British Medical Journal has scientifically proven what experience had already confirmed: that people who do not sleep well look less healthy and attractive. On an aesthetic level, having a good sleep entails a brighter skin tone and the absence of dark circles under the eyes. The skin's regenerative cycle never stops, but while the cycle from the deep epithelial layer to the superficial layer goes on for several weeks, the cell duplication process lasts only a few hours and happens mostly at night. Not getting enough sleep makes the skin much more susceptible to ultraviolet rays as well, putting it at risk of melanoma.
6. Greater Muscle Relaxation
Sleeping is essential for muscle regeneration. During the night, the body activates growth hormones, waking up the protein synthesis processes which are essential for repairing muscle tissue damaged during the day, especially if we have been training.
While sleeping there is a peak in the production of the hormone. Combined with low levels of adrenaline and corticosteroids and a lowering of body temperature, this allows the muscles to relax. The body will then enjoy the full benefits of sleep.
7. Prevents Weight Gaining
A study from the University of Chicago has shown that a diet carried away while sleeping badly and little ends up not having the desired results. According to the research, sleeping contributes “to the maintenance of fat-free body mass at times of decreased energy intake.” Put otherwise, lack of sufficient sleep may compromise the efficacy of typical dietary interventions for weight loss and related metabolic risk reduction. Besides, we should take into account that, by having less energy and being more prone to stress, lack of sleep induces us to food craving all along the day.