You Need Sleep, Seriously

5 ways getting enough shut-eye can preserve your health and well-being

Many people across the country feel stress and anxiety right now — partly because of the upcoming presidential election. If politics, among other things, has you facing sleepless nights, it’s time you turned off the news, took a few deep breaths, and got yourself to sleep — or make an appointment to see someone who can help you.

Adults need between six and 11 hours of sleep a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. But many people aren’t quite there. Stress, a lack of winding down before bedtime, or eating and drinking too late at night has many of us up through the wee hours of the morning.

One of the missing pieces for those trying to lose weight is getting a good night’s sleep.

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This time of year especially, the right amount of sleep can be a huge ally in the fight to stay healthy, according to Dr. Damon Raskin, a board-certified internist specializing in sleep medicine from Palisades, California.

Think you don’t need any more sleep than you’re getting? Below, Raskin outlines a few of the benefits a good night’s rest can offer. People looking for healthier skin (and fewer wrinkles) to protect the mind and to help fight the battle of the bulge will want to pay close attention.

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1.) Having a sense of well-being
A recent Gallup poll found that more sleep is positively associated with higher well-being, which includes purpose, social, financial, community, and physical elements.

“You can appreciate the few nights you don’t sleep well and you wake up feeling cranky,” said Raskin. “These are patients with chronic insomnia. Patients who don’t sleep long-term have an increased risk for depression or other anxiety disorders — and that affects their whole sense of well-being in every aspect of their lives. People don’t want to go out and do things. They don’t want to see their friends or participate in sports or anything.”

[lz_bulleted_list title=”Sleep and Skin” source=””]Skin makes new collagen when you sleep, which prevents sagging.|More collagen means skin is plumper, less likely to wrinkle.|Getting just 5 hours a night of sleep can lead to twice as many fine lines as sleeping 7 hours would.|Lack of sleep also leaves skin drier, which can make lines more visible.[/lz_bulleted_list]

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2.) Maintaining skin and beauty
Try getting more sleep before you contemplate such things as Botox. As you snooze, your body lowers its temperature, which causes you to sweat, allowing moisture get back into the top layers of your skin.

“Getting a good night’s sleep is a way of your body refreshing itself in every way. We don’t even understand all of the benefits of sleep, and this is a superficial benefit, but it’s an important one for many people,” Raskin told LifeZette.

3.) Preserving the immune system
The effect sleep deprivation has on the immune system mirrors that of physical stress. And it can impact the physical pain someone feels.

“I have patients who don’t sleep well and say their arthritis is exacerbated. It can have a negative effect on those with fibromyalgia as well. We know that for your immune system to operate well — and one of the things I talk about besides hand washing — is getting a good night’s sleep, especially right now with cold and flu season upon us,” said Raskin.

4.) Supporting a healthy BMI
Short sleep duration can cause a high body mass index (BMI). Why does this matter? “I have a lot of patients who are trying to lose weight and say, ‘I’m exercising, I’m eating well, but I’m not losing weight,'” Raskin noted.

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One of the missing pieces for those trying to lose weight is getting a good night’s sleep — and sleeping through the night. Raskin said a lot of research shows a lack of sleep can slow metabolism — the body doesn’t want to shed the pounds.

5.) Helping to sustain learning and memory
A full night’s sleep within 24 hours after learning is proven to strengthen new memories and build connections between different pieces of information.

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Sleep is important in every aspect of physical and mental health, said Raskin. For the 10 percent of Americans who suffer from chronic insomnia — which means a continuous struggle to get a full, uninterrupted night of sleep — there are new medications available, he said, without a lot of the side effects and risk of addiction. It’s best to connect with a physician first.

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