Getting your beauty sleep doesn't just make you look and feel great, it can also affect your overall health. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a good night's rest can help you function better throughout the day by improving reflexes, brain function and weight management.
"Sleep services all aspects of our body in one way or another: molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness and mood," said Dr. Merrill Mitler, a sleep expert and neuroscientist at NIH.
One of the many benefits of getting enough sleep is weight management. According to researchers at the University of Chicago, dieters who were well-rested lost more fat than those who were sleep-deprived. Those in the study also felt more hungry when they got less sleep.
"Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain," Dr. Rapoport, an associate professor at New York University's Langone Medical Center, told Health Magazine. "When you are sleepy, certain hormones go up in your blood, and those same hormones drive appetite."
According to the NIH, the body releases hormones during sleep that help repair cells and control energy levels. These hormone changes can affect your body weight. Mitler said that lack of sleep can cause increased levels of insulin and less control over your blood sugar health.
Prevention Magazine says that in research presented at the American Heart Association's 2011 Scientific Sessions, it was shown that women who got only 4 hours of sleep at night ate more than 300 additional calories the next day compared to an evening when they slept nine hours.
The NIH recommends that on average, adults should get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. To attain the maximum restorative benefits of sleep, getting a full night of quality rest is important. However, the NIH also notes that as people get older, they may not get enough sleep because of illness, medications or sleep problems. They reported that about 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems. Dr. Michael Twery told the NIH that lack of sleep can affect memory, mood and even joint comfort.
"Sleep affects almost every tissue in our bodies," said Dr. Michael Twery, a sleep expert at the NIH. "It affects growth and stress hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health."
In order to ensure a good night's sleep, the Mayo Clinic recommends the following:
• Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on the weekends
• Not going go to bed hungry or overly full, and being mindful of caffeine consumption before bed
• Creating a bedtime ritual that you can follow each night