Are you getting your zzz’s? Turns out, about 65% of Americans do not get enough sleep. Inadequate shut eye is correlated with mental distress, depression, anxiety, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol. It’s no wonder that the folks who do get the recommended 8 hours of sleep are both healthier and live longer.
So exactly what is the connection between sleep and longevity?
Good sleep makes us more attractive- One study had people rate the attractiveness of people who had a normal night of rest and the same people after 31 hours of sleep deprivation. No surprise, when people were sleep deprived they were rated as less healthy, more tired, and less attractive than when they had adequate beauty rest the night before. If humans are sensitive to sleep-related facial cues as suggested by the researchers, it could have implications in social situations such as applying for a new job.
Good sleep keeps us in better shape- When people are deprived of sleep it takes a toll on their health. One study found that when participants were sleep-deprived, they consumed more carbohydrates and calorie-dense foods, presumably to make up for a lag in energy. Likewise, when you are well-rested you have more energy and this increases the likelihood that you will hit the gym for much-needed exercise.
Good sleep gives you a good glow- Your skin grows while you are asleep. In fact, it grows almost 30 times more when you are asleep than when you are awake. This helps explain the dark circles and under-eye bags so commonly associated with sleep deprivation. With good sleep comes skin that is more elastic, supple, and taut, all characteristics of a youthful glow.
Good sleep allows your body to heal- A lot is happening while you are off in Dreamland. Sleep allows the cells in your body to rebuild and restore what is lost throughout the day. It helps to repair damage caused by UV rays associated with skin cancer. While you are sleeping, your body may even be working to combat colds and infections by producing a sleep-inducing chemical that can help save important resources for your immune system.
Good sleep increases HGH production- While you sleep, your body releases human growth hormone (HGH) at high levels during slow-wave sleep. HGH is associated with high energy levels, elevated spirits, improved immunity, and good skin tone. HGH deficiencies can lead to reduced muscle mass, slowed metabolism, unhealthy belly fat, and sagging skin.
So now that you know some of the connections between sleep and longevity, you might want to consider changing the time that you crawl into bed and shut down for the day. Good night!