National Bed Month: The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep

05th Mar 2019 Inspiration & Lifestyle

With an increasing number of people accepting a bad night's sleep as the 'norm', we're getting involved in National Bed Month this March, to share the importance of getting the best rest you can each night.

Organised by The Sleep Council, National Bed Month takes place in March every year, aiming to raise awareness of how a good night’s sleep can improve our health, how we can achieve the best rest, and the importance of having a suitable bed.

According to the NHS, one in 3 of us across the UK suffer from poor sleep, whether this is due to stress, lifestyle or personal choice.

So, in honour of National Bed Month, we’re sharing the importance of a getting a good night’s sleep on our health and wellbeing.

What is officially classed as a 'good night's sleep'?

As we sleep, our bodies rest and repair, replenishing stores, making preparations for the upcoming day, and putting to rest the memories and experiences from the day before. To do this successfully, we are recommended to sleep for a certain amount of time depending on how old we are.

The below recommendations come from a world wide study from The National Sleep Foundation:

In our recommended hours of sleep, our body needs to go through four stages to successfully rest: NREM, NREM1, NREM2 and NREM3.

The first phase is a light state of sleep, and each phase sinks the body in to a deeper relaxed state until it is harder to awaken and we have dreams. Each sleep cycle lasts around one and a half hours and are vital to feel fully rested, so it’s very important to give your body enough time to see through each stage.

How can a good night's sleep affect our health?

So, now we know what a ‘good night’s sleep’ is, we can take a look at the positive effects on our body, and the possible consequences of failing to sleep well long-term.

1. Sleep can help prevent diabetes

When you miss out on a deep sleep on a regular basis, it can change the way your body processes glucose, and if glucose isn’t processed, your body in turn can’t produce energy.

The glucose will also remain in your blood until there is too much, increasing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

These results have been seen in those getting between four and a half to six hours of sleep every night, meaning people who don’t allow their bodies to reach the fourth stage of deep sleep find it hard to maintain proper insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.

 

2. A boosted immune system

While your body is resting, it produces and releases a protein called cytokine which fights infection. If you skimp on sleep your body will have a reduced defensive barrier, making you more susceptible to illnesses, such as the flu.

So, if you seem to catch every bug that goes around at the office, it may be that you need to reassess your bed time.

 

3. Sleep can help prevent weight gain

It could be mistakenly believed that the more you are awake, the more calories you will burn, but this is incorrect. It’s actually the people who don’t get the recommended level of sleep who run the risk of gaining pounds.

According to the NHS, those who sleep less than seven hours a day are more likely to gain weight and run a higher risk of becoming obese as they produce less of the hormone that makes you feel full (leptin), and more of the hunger-stimulating hormone (ghrelin).

If you’re trying to lose weight and are hitting a dead end, you may need to take a look at your sleeping pattern.

4. Boosted mental wellbeing

We’ve all felt how irritable and distracted being tired can make us after just one bad night’s sleep, so it’s probably not surprising that a build up of sleep deprivation can lead to long-term mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety.

Those who get the recommended level of sleep will feel more refreshed, relaxed, alert and generally happier. A well rested body is a happy body, and that can only boost your mental well being in the long-run.

 

5. Sleep increases fertility

Sleep deprivation has been linked to difficulty with fertility, in both men and women, as sleep disruptions can prevent the secretion of reproductive hormones.

A good night’s sleep helps to regulate your hormones, specifically the hormone Leptin, that links sleep and fertility and affects ovulation. Getting the recommended 7-9/8 hours sleep a night will help women to produce Leptin and encourage a healthy menstrual cycle.

 

6. Heart disease prevention

Long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased heart rate, which can result in increased blood pressure and inflammation, and a strain on your heart which could develop in to heart disease.

Managing your sleep pattern so you get the recommended amount on a regular basis, can help keep a steady heart rate and help maintain healthy blood pressure, resulting in a healthy, happy heart.

Now you know the benefits of a great night’s sleep, do you need some tips on how to get one? Check out our blog post on How to Sleep Better at Night.

Is your bed preventing you from having a restful night? Check out our blog post on How to Choose a Bed That’s Perfect For You.

Find out more about National Bed Month from The Sleep Council.

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