Sleep is vital for health, both physical and mental. It is recommended to sleep between seven and nine hours per night. Yet about a third of Canadian adults sleep less than seven hours a night. Here are six reasons why you should prioritize your sleep starting now!
According to a meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, sleeping less than seven hours per night is associated with a 6% increase in mortality, all causes considered. But beware, studies also suggest that sleeping too long (more than nine hours per night) can also increase the risk of mortality and chronic diseases.
Studies show that individuals who chronically sleep less than seven hours per night are more likely to be obese, gain weight, and have a higher waist circumference and fat percentage as compared to those who sleep seven hours or more. A lack of sleep is associated with an increase in caloric intake, especially from snacks and fatty foods. In studies, it has been shown that insufficient sleep is associated with an overconsumption of calories ranging from 200 to 600 extra calories per day. Sleep helps maintain the balance between the hormones of hunger (ghrelin) and satiety (leptin). When we don’t sleep long enough, the level of ghrelin increases and the level of leptin decreases. This causes us to be more hungry when we are tired than when we are well rested. Fatigue also causes impaired judgment and decision-making, which can alter dietary choices.
Insufficient sleep over the long-term increases blood pressure and is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. According to two meta-analyses, a lack of long-term sleep can increase fasting blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin, and insulin resistance, and is associated with an approximately 30% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.