Does sleep keep us healthy?

3 min read

What's the link between sleep and health(y skin)?

Sleep is arguably the most important and underappreciated element of health in our modern lives.

Benefits of a good night’s sleep include an increase in mood and energy, improved concentration, greater ability to learn, better ability to make healthier food choices, and improved immunity. Not to mention it can reduce stress levels, the risk of being overweight and suffering from chronic diseases and can have major improvements to skin’s health and appearance (to name a few).

Bolt Beauty blog - Sleep series

Quite simply, there is no part of our physical or mental health which is not affected by poor sleep. As the legendary sleep researcher Dr Allan Rechtschaffen once said, “If sleep does not serve an absolutely vital function, then it is the biggest mistake the evolutionary process ever made”.

We can all be guilty of cutting corners when it comes to sleep. In a busy lifestyle it is often the first thing we sacrifice and many of us have come to regard sleep as optional. On top of this, we live in a culture which associates sleep with laziness and a lack of drive. The expression “you can sleep when you’re dead” sums up this attitude. This has landed us in the middle of a sleep deprivation epidemic, scientists estimate that we are sleeping on average 25% less than we did just 60 years ago and 77% of people in the UK are not reaching their sleep needs.

Not sleeping can have serious consequences on our health, and with so many of us staying indoors at the moment, a little more beauty sleep is just what the doctor ordered… (am I right?!)

“If sleep does not serve an absolutely vital function, then it is the biggest mistake the evolutionary process ever made”

Dr Allan Rechtschaffen, sleep researcher.

So how does a lack of sleep effect our immune system?

  1. It increases risk of infection. Studies have shown that people sleeping 6 hours a night or less are 4 times more likely to catch a cold than those sleeping more than 7 hours a night.
  2. Poor sleep also reduces our immune response to vaccines, making vaccines less effective and impacts how quickly and effectively we fight illnesses.
  3. It also drives chronic inflammation which contributes to all sorts of problems with our health, including our skin.

Scientists estimate that we are sleeping on average 25% less than we did just 60 years ago and 77% of people in the UK are not reaching their sleep needs.

But it works both ways…

Just like how our sleep affects our immune system, our immune system affects our sleep. When we do fall ill, our immune system sends a message to our sleep system demanding us to rest more. This immune-induced tiredness is an amazing example of how our immune system communicates with the brain to change our behaviour.

The good news!

It’s not all doom and gloom! There is a lot we can do to improve our sleep. Here are some common lifestyle habits which may be coming between you and good sleep – along with some top tips on how to turn things around and get those well-deserved Z’s…(Read More)

Jessica Ferrari-Wells

Jessica is a London-based qualified nutritionist specialising in women's health. Having first studied psychology and neuroscience at the University of Oxford she became fascinated with how our wider health, diet and lifestyle impact our mental and physical wellbeing. Going on to work in a highly pressured corporate law environment, she experienced a deterioration in her own health and the health of her colleagues, in particular hormonal health and resilience. She went on to study and train in nutritional therapy and since qualifying has specialised in women's health, primarily hormone balance, energy, immunity, resilience, and mental wellbeing. Jessica unravels exactly what it takes to be well in the modern day - supporting her clients with clear, practical and educated advice and debunking common myths along the way.

Learn more about Jessica or get in touch with her for some personalised tips here.

Jessica Ferrari-Wells

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