7 surprising health benefits of sleep

“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together” – Thomas Decker

Did you know…
• One study found that people who routinely got less than seven hours sleep a night were three times more likely to catch the common cold. Those least likely to catch a cold were people who reported good quality sleep most nights.
• Getting enough sleep may help prevent cancer, because the sleep hormone melatonin appears to have cancer fighting and anti-tumour properties.
• A study of 24,000 Greek adults found that those who napped regularly had a lower risk of dying from heart disease.
• Some studies have found that the efficacy of vaccinations can be improved by the recipients being well-rested. A good night’s sleep is known to support optimal immune function.
• The glymphatic system in the brain clears it of a substance called beta amyloid — which is a precursor to Alzheimer’s. This system is 10 times more active when you’re sleeping than when you are awake. If you consistently get 7 – 8 hours’ sleep a night, your chances of contracting Alzheimer’s are reduced.
• Getting a good night’s sleep can reduce premenstrual symptoms, particularly those relating to mood.
• Insulin is the hormone that regulates your blood sugar level. Adequate sleep supports this function, while lack of sleep can lead to high blood sugar creating symptoms of diabetes in otherwise healthy people.
So, how much sleep is enough? It depends on your age and stage of life, though other factors such as stress, illness, pregnancy, and physical exertion may increase your sleep needs. A healthy adult generally functions best on 7 – 8 hours sleep a night. Children and teenagers need more sleep due to the demands of growth and puberty on their bodies.

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