23rd May 2017

The magic of sleep

World Bedwetting Day on 30 May is fast approaching and Solaris Health are very proud to have been a core part of developing this exciting global campaign. It aims to help raise awareness that bedwetting in children is a troubling medical condition that can and should be treated, and to help families seek the help they need from healthcare professionals. Check out their website, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook if you haven’t already!

With that in mind, it’s worth taking the time to consider how conditions that compromise sleep can impact on health and wellbeing, both in children and adults. Here are five reasons why a good night’s sleep is important:

1. Sleep tight and hope the midnight munchies don’t bite
Decreased sleep is linked to an increase in calorie consumption, obesity and diabetes risk. This is because sleep deprivation can trigger a stress response increasing levels of the hormone cortisol, making you feel hungrier (and thus more likely to devour a multipack of chocolate digestives – or other snack). It also increases blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, increasing risk of developing type II diabetes.

2. A well-rested decision is always the best decision
Stress hormones not only lead you to make food choices you’re likely to regret, but also increase activity in areas of the brain linked to short-term, impulsive thinking. There may be some wisdom in those who say ‘I think I’ll sleep on that one…’ before making a big decision, as sleep deprivation can increase the likelihood of making rash decisions you may later regret.

3. Sweet dreams mean fantastic memories
Sufficient sleep is required to form long-term memory. Although the specific role of sleep in memory is not yet fully understood, it’s thought sleep is required to consolidate and store memories.

4. Sleeping beauties not sleepy-eyed beauties
Studies have shown people who are sleep-deprived are not only seen as less attractive, but people are also less likely to want to socialise with them. This avoidance of sleep-deprived faces is most likely explained as an evolutionary mechanism to avoid disease, so we only associate with those who look energetic and fit.

5. Sleep: perhaps the simplest of all remedies!
Lack of sleep can compromise your immune system, making you more susceptible to common ailments like colds and flu. This is because when we are sleep-deprived, T cells - which are required to fend off invading pathogens - decrease, whereas inflammatory cytokines increase.