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Sleeping Patterns and How They Affect our Health

24/05/2013 | Bedtime, Room to Grow, Sleep | by Catherine Godiva

Research on sleep over the last few decades has found a wealth of surprising and interesting information including the fact that there are many health risks that a person faces if they don’t get enough, including depression, weight gain and even Type II Diabetes. Sleep experts recommend that an adult get an average of 7 to 8  hours of quality sleep a night. They also advised that many people need more than the recommended amount while admitting that yes, there are some people that could easily get by with less. A number of the health risks that have been found from the latest research are as follows.

·         A study in Finland has shown that women who don’t get enough sleep are highly susceptible to unhealthy weight gain. They have also, conversely, found out that women who gain an inordinate amount of weight have trouble sleeping. Their study, performed over a seven-year period, revealed that trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up several times during the night where all associated with a 5 kg or more weight gain in women. Interestingly, the same results were not found for men.

·         Research in the Netherlands has found that even if a person gets the requisite eight hours of sleep a night, if that sleep is of poor quality it can take a toll on a person’s metabolism. They found that a person that only got 4 hours of quality sleep a night would cause their body to misuse or become resistant to insulin, something that can lead to Type II diabetes if untreated as well as heart disease and  other illnesses.

·         A North Carolina research group found that, for people under 40 years old, too much sleep or too little sleep can lead to an accumulation of visceral fat or what most of us know as ‘belly fat’. They even went so far as to make sure that other fat causing factors like calorie intake, smoking and exercise habits were not the cause. As many people know, visceral fat is associated with a wide variety of health problems including arteriosclerosis, diabetes and high blood pressure.

·         If you’re keen on staying fit then getting enough sleep is definitely something you’ll want to do as German researchers found that less than four hours of sleep per night will put a crimp in your normal exercise and fitness routine. They found that people who did not get a full night’s sleep were more apt to be less intensely physical during the day. In effect, they found that people who are tired don’t exercise as much. (Duh.)

·         Depression has also been shown to be caused by not getting enough sleep. In Virginia researchers found that there test subjects who suffered insomnia had a 2 to 5X increase in their risk of developing depression and concluded that getting a full night’s sleep every night was one of the best solutions to the problem.

·         In Canada the University of Montréal found that people with insomnia have a higher incidence of heart disease. The reason; people who don’t sleep well suffer from an increase in blood pressure because their central nervous system tends to be hyperactive at night.

As you can see from all of these research studies, getting a proper nights rest is vitally important to your health and well-being. If you’re having trouble sleeping, staying asleep or falling asleep you would do well to seek out a sleep expert to find out why.

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