Many people think that we should aim for 8 hours of elusive sleep each night but most people do not really understand the importance sleep plays in our physical health. Like helping to repair and healing blood vessels. Sleep also helps with high blood pressure. Increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and kidney diseases are all linked to lack of proper sleep. Sleeping also plays a restorative role on the brain. Memory consolidation occurs during slow wave and as such, different pieces of what we learn during the day are pieced together and carefully stored as knowledge to be accessed later.
Extra sleep has also proven to improve athletic performance. In 2008, a study of five swimmers showed that when they extended their sleep to 10 hours a day for six to seven weeks, the athletes could swim faster and react more quickly. Similarly researchers at Harvard University and Boston College found that during sleep is when emotional components of memory are strengthened. As a result, sleep aids in creativity.
Sleep also helps with weight loss. Or at least helps with curbing appetite. Hunger is controlled by two hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is a hormone that is produced in your fat cells. The less leptin you produce, the more your stomach feels empty. The more ghrelin you produce, the more you stimulate hunger while also reducing the amount of calories you burn (your metabolism) and increasing the amount fat you store. In other words, you need to control leptin and ghrelin to successfully lose weight but sleep deprivation makes that nearly impossible. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinoloy and Metabolism found that sleeping less than six hours triggers the area of your brain that increases your need for food while also depressing leptin and stimulating ghrelin.