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Think a solid six hours of sleep is enough to keep your body running at full capacity? Think again
A lack of sleep could contribute to weight gain and slower reflexes
During sleep the body repairs itself from physical and mental stress.
After a good workout, sleep loss will interfere with the recuperation and rebuilding process.
In addition, lack of sleep can affect reflexes, so you won’t be operating at peak performance during your workout or sport.
It was once believed that six hours of sleep was enough to repair the wear and tear on the brain and the body. Research has found that sleeping only four hours nightly for two weeks shows impairment equal to two days without sleep. However, those who slept for six hours had impairment equal to one night without sleep.
Surprisingly, the study participants reported feeling only slightly sleepy, despite the drastic decline in their mind and body performances.
Lack of sleep can also cause muscle loss and impact attempts to lose weight. Sleep deprivation lowers the level of leptin, a protein that suppresses appetite and increases the hormone grehlin, which stimulates appetite.
During the deepest stage of sleep, your body gets most of its daily dose of human growth hormone (HGH). This is responsible for the growth, maintenance and repair of muscle. The body needs sleep to release HGH to facilitate these processes. With sleep loss, the body lacks the exposure to HGH to keep muscles healthy. Muscle tissue becomes weak, which will affect muscle development and tone. Muscle is the key to a faster metabolic rate. The more muscle you have, the more efficiently you’ll burn body fat.
Our bodies need to rest and recuperate and a good night’s sleep is necessary for everyone. The average amount of sleep needed by an adult is about seven or eight hours.
Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.