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Benefits go beyond beauty.
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Many people undervalue the importance of sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35 percent of people are sleep deprived. As our body is in its rest state, there are many processes that help regulate our overall health and wellness. Let’s examine the impact sleep has on our bodies when we do not get adequate sleep.

Hormone production

While we sleep, our bodies release a hormone called growth hormone. Growth hormone production is important because it helps to promote fat loss, reduce fat storage and support your immune system. This process only takes place when the body is in stage three of rapid eye movement, or REM sleep. Lack of sleep decreases the body’s natural production of growth hormone.

Another hormone that is affected by inadequate sleep is cortisol. Cortisol is classified as the “stress hormone” and influences the body’s response to stress and glucose levels. When you are sleep deprived, cortisol levels increase and have a direct correlation to decreasing your body’s growth hormone production as well.

In essence, lack of sleep will cause your body to decrease the production of growth hormone and increase the production of cortisol, creating a destructive cycle.

Cellular composition

When your body’s use of insulin gets disrupted from lack of sleep, it can impact insulin sensitivity. The purpose of insulin sensitivity is to bring your blood glucose level down if it becomes elevated. Instead of fat cells removing fatty acids from your bloodstream and preventing storage, the lipids can end up in vital organs such as the liver. As this process accumulates, it can lead to diabetes.

Increased appetite

Our appetite is controlled by two hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is responsible for telling the body when it feels full (satiety) and ghrelin tells the body when it’s hungry. Lack of sleep produces low levels of leptin and high levels of ghrelin, increasing the likelihood of excess weight gain. The results lead to bigger portion sizes and the feeling of not being satisfied.

There are many reasons why we don’t get proper sleep — but the damage it does to our bodies outweighs the priorities we have in our lives. We should be getting anywhere between six to seven hours of sleep daily to avoid these concerns. It takes just four days to experience the negative impact of not getting enough sleep, but can be reversed if getting adequate rest.

Ray Chargualaf Jr. has a master’s in sports education and leadership. He is the owner of HÅTSA Guam, creator of the 1,000lb Challenge, a sponsored athlete, celebrity trainer and all-around family man from Inarajan. Get your fitness facts and fix by following him on Instagram @raychargualaf.

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