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4 key benefits of a good night's sleep

Posted by Joe Wicks in Wellbeing

Sleep is super important to our overall health and wellbeing and lack of sleep can affect us in many ways, including our fitness and weight loss. Here, sleep and insomnia specialist Kathryn Pinkham explains why a good night's sleep is so important.

Poor sleep affects fitness and wellness more than people might think. Not sleeping enough – less than seven hours per night – can reduce or even undo the benefits of dieting. A lack of sleep makes you feel tired and groggy, and it does the same thing to your fat cells. I like to call this 'Metabolic Grogginess' and it makes your body less effective at breaking down fatty tissues. In fact, those who regularly sleep for less than six hours per night are 30% more likely to become obese than those who sleep between seven and nine hours. 

Sleeping better also makes it easier to eat healthily. If you're sleep-deprived, your brain gets more excited when it sees high-calorie food (we’ve all been there). And of course, the more tired you are, the more likely you are to give in to temptation (we’ve all been there too). But if you sleep well, suddenly those unhealthy snacks aren’t as appealing. 

And it’s not just weight. If you don’t sleep properly your general appearance can take a hit as well. During deep sleep we release optimal amounts of human growth hormone which affects, amongst other things, the firmness of our skin and the tone of the muscles underneath it. When we’re tired, we tend to run on cortisol (the human body stress hormone). High levels of cortisol have been shown to break down the collagen proteins that 'glue' your skin cells together. This leads to fine lines, poor tone and wrinkles. So getting one’s 'beauty sleep' isn’t just something your mum used to say, she was in fact right.            

Everyone’s individual sleep needs vary. Most healthy adults are built for 16 hours of wakefulness and need an average of eight hours of sleep a night. However, some individuals are able to function well after as few as six hours of sleep, while others can't perform at their peak unless they've slept for ten hours.  

From helping us to function more effectively during the day, to helping stick to a healthy lifestyle and exercise routine, the positives of a good night’s sleep are many and varied.

Here are just a few of, what I believe, are the key benefits:

1. More alertness and energy

Waking up properly rested will greatly increase energy levels, alertness and ability to concentrate.

2. Less stress

A well rested body generally produces less of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline so we are able to handle difficult situations more effectively.

3. Weight loss and rest

Getting a good night's sleep can balance out the hormone fluctuations that provoke appetite. In fact, having proper rest is one of the best things we can do for losing weight. By ditching late-night TV, also has the added benefit of dodging one of those diet destroying late-night junk food binges as well. 

4. Sleep improves happiness

Sleeping allows our brain time to rebalance the chemicals and hormones that affect our mental clarity, mood and emotions, which are so important for being calm, relaxed and happy. With lack of sleep so strongly associated with depression and mental illness, it's not hard to see how getting an early night and some deep sleep can lead to a better day tomorrow.


Kathryn Pinkham is a sleep and insomnia specialist at The Insomnia Clinic. For more info and to take a quick test to find out your personal sleep score go to www.theinsomniaclinic.co.uk

Twitter: @insomnia_clinic

Facebook: The Insomnia Clinic 



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Joe Wicks

About Joe Wicks

Joe Wicks is the online nutrition coach inspiring people all over the world to cook with his #Leanin15 video meals on Instagram. He is also transforming the lives of thousands of people with his tailored online nutrition plan, The 90 Day Shift, Shape & Sustain plan.

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