Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Magic Power of Sleep

I've found this post very interesting and worth sharing. I thought, many of us would sometimes have difficulty dealing along with a good sleep routine. So, for those who seem to have unstable sleeping routines, this is one vital information we must read.

This article has been condensed and courtesy of Reader's Digest.

Magic Power #1: Live Longer and Healthier

Sleeping better may help you fight off illness. When people are sleep-deprived, there are higher levels of stress hormones in their bodies and an increase in inflammation, both of which can decrease immune function. Simply stated, people who sleep well live longer. So say goodnight sooner, and it may help you stay active and vital to a ripe old age.

Magic Power #2: Look Better, Feel Better

People limited to only 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night for several nights not only experience more physical ailments, such as headaches and stomach problems, but also undergo changes i metabolism similar to those occuring with normal aging. It's no wonder we look terrible after a sleepless night. One of the reasons may be growth hormones. They're essential to keeping us looking good as we get older. Growth hormones are rejuvenating. When you have high levels of the hormone, you have muscle mass, better skin-you lok sexy. You want to keep your growth hormones as high as possible, and the number one best way to do that is sleep.
When you don't look good, you don't feel sexy, and your relationship can suffer. So getting more sleep can rev up your love life too.

Magic Power #3: Be Happier, Less Stressed

People with insomnia produce higher rates of stress hormones than others, according to a new research. This puts their bodies in a hyperaroused state that can make it difficult for them to wind down and sleep. The inability to sleep causes more stress, which can have a devastating impact. People who don't sleep get depressed, and depression causes insomnia, so it's a vicious cycle. But we know the inverse is true: that more and better sleep can make you feel happier.

Magic Power #4: Build a Better Brain

Not only does sleep deprivation lead to a poor health, it also affects concentration, problem-solving skills, memory and mood. Anything that disturbs the quality and quantity of sleep can have long-term consequeces for both body and mind. Lack of sleep can have cognitive and physical effects similar to those brought on by overindulging in alcohol. And night owls, beware: A new study shows that people with two copies of a gene variant that helps control our body clocks tend toward a "late to bed, late to rise" sleeping pattern. They may suffer worse cognitive deficits after sleep deprivation, such as forgefullness and trouble concentrating. So, better sleep may equal better decision making.

Magic Power #5: Lose a Few Pounds

Recent studies suggest that people who get inadequate amounts of sleep are more likely to gain weight. With sleep deprivation, we see a reduction in metabolism and an increase in appetite. Inadequate sleep lower levels of leptin, the hormone that causes you to feel full, while increasing levels of ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry.
What's also fascinating is that sleep deprivation influences your food choices, making you crave high-carb and high-sugar foods. This is because sleep loss decreases insulin sensitivity, putting the sleep deprived at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. So sleep more and it may be easier to fight that cookie craving, and wake up a whole new you.