What health issues can be prevented thanks to sleeping? Sleeping can prevent a lowered immune system, can avoid weight gain, and avoid depression, as well as other health issues.
The key to successful sleep is knowledge. Knowing your sleep means identifying the sleep you actually get, the sleep you really need, and the most convenient time for you to sleep.
We can then adapt our routines to our needs (if society gives us the opportunity).
This precise knowledge allows us to manage the gap between what suits us and our environmental limitations. Luckily for us, the human capacity for adaptation is excellent.
Table of Contents
What health issues can be prevented thanks to sleeping? Introduction
In this blog post, we’ll try to find the secrets of successful sleep, which has become an obsession for many of us.
It seems obvious that everyone needs to sleep, but wouldn’t resting or clearing our minds be enough? Why do we need to sleep? Why try to sleep well? And finally, what is the point of sleeping?
To rest, of course. But the answer is a little short, as it doesn’t tell us much about a single function of sleep.
Sleep has a restorative function
Sleeping helps you reload everything that has been changed in your body during the day. When you’re awake, you consume energy. During the day, a certain number of structures are degraded, which will be repaired during sleep.
When we sleep, there is an increase in protein synthesis and mitosis (cell multiplication). However, at the organism level, this recovery is not very different between sleep and rest.
It’s not easy to do experiments by robbing a person of sleep without denying him of rest.
After running a marathon, you want to rest and let your muscles recover. It’s not necessarily needed to sleep!
Sleep will help you repair yourself when you are burned, injured, or sick. It also interacts with your immune system. You often sleep more when you have an infection.
This is because some of the molecules you synthesize to fight the infection make you sleepy. In other words: they make you sleep to better fight the aggressor.
At the same time, chronic sleep deprivation makes the body more exposed to infection. However, the function of sleep remains mysterious. It must be very important because all animals need it.
Experimental sleep deprivation systematically results in what is called a sleep rebound. This is the scientific name for a phenomenon that everyone knows. During a sleep rebound, you make up for the sleep debt.
This sleep deficit due to a short night can be compensated, for example, by sleeping longer afterward.
This increased production of sleep after deprivation (sleep rebound) has been observed for each type of sleep. If an animal lacks REM sleep, it will increase its REM sleep time when it catches up.
However, if it is deprived of slow-wave sleep, it will produce more slow-wave sleep.
Sleep is crucial to avoid weight gain
The most common bodily manifestation of chronic sleep deprivation is weight gain. Chronic sleep debt basically contributes to the global obesity epidemic.
During the day, you don’t go 8 hours without eating or drinking. However, we fast for 8 hours at night, except for those who get up to eat.
You’re not awakened by a feeling of hunger during the night. This is because leptin, a hormone secreted by fat tissue, stops your appetite.
When you’re awake during the day, ghrelin is secreted. This other hormone secreted by fat tissue has the opposite action: it increases your appetite.
When a person is chronically sleep-deprived, the ghrelin-leptin balance is unstable: they are hungry more often and therefore eat more.
However, night workers are in chronic sleep debt. As all epidemiological studies show, the risk of obesity is higher in night workers than in day workers.
The role of sleep in metabolism is widely demonstrated, and chronic sleep deprivation boosts obesity and diabetes.
If you’re overweight and struggling to sleep, you may also need to consider whether your bed frame is right for you; therefore, check our top overweight bed frames guide.
The person becomes resistant to insulin. One therefore needs more insulin to make the sugar penetrate into the cells. Because the person does not secrete more, the sugar level in the blood increases, which signals diabetes.
Sleep is essential to avoid depression
In acute sleep debt, e.g. after a sleepless night, we are sometimes a little overexcited in the morning, like we’re drunk and euphoric. Then, we become very sleepy at nap time, with an irrepressible need to sleep.
This initial overexcitement can prevent us from sleeping. This is particularly true for children. When they lack sleep, they become agitated before abruptly falling asleep.
Acute sleep debt due to a bad night is usually compensated for by a good night the next day.
In chronic deprivation, the effects are more insidious: neuropsychological and somatic.
The neuropsychological effects are:
- concentration issues
- poor memory
- changes in character
- greater irritability
- a depressive tendency
Sleep shortage often leads to a lack of motivation to do anything. Having no desire, feeling worthless, or being unable to understand are all signs of depression.
In other words: chronic sleep deprivation is a breeding ground for depression.
What health issues can be prevented thanks to sleeping? Conclusion
Getting enough high-quality sleep and adopting good sleep hygiene allows our bodies time to rest and regenerate to keep our immune system intact.
Additionally, by ensuring you get enough shut-eye, you also protect against infections, weight gain, and depression.
Related posts about sleep: