Posted on November 03 2018
A little more shut-eye can improve memory, overall cognitive performance, ability to learn new information, receptivity to facial cues, mood, ability to handle problems, metabolism, risk for heart disease and immune system, according to the New York Times.
For Mr Porter, a good night’s sleep is essential to ensure “we look, feel and perform at our very best.”
Yet in Britain, almost three quarters of us sleep less than seven hours a night, and the number of us getting less than five hours of shut-eye has risen sharply since 2013, according to the Sleep Council’s Great British Bedtime Report.
So widespread are the health risks associated with sleep deprivation that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading public health institute in the United States, has declared it a public health epidemic.
So it’s no surprise that lifestyle blogs and health gurus are starting to focus on sleep, albeit belatedly.
Sleep is crucial for athletic development.
Diet and exercise have long been the twin pillars of the health and wellness industry, a 23 billion pound business in the UK alone. From bikram yoga or wheatgrass shots to CrossFit or the Paleo diet, it’s an industry with a “go-hard-or-go-home” attitude (and many ways to part you from your cash).
But without enough sleep, those hours in the gym or carefully counted macros won’t pay off. Sleep is crucial for athletic development and for reducing the risk of injury, while weight loss is more likely to come from lean body mass – muscle, not fat – in those who are sleep deprived.
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The foundation of a healthy lifestyle.
In his best-selling book Why We Sleep, British neuroscientist and psychologist Matthew Walker argues that sleep isn’t just the third pillar of a healthy lifestyle – it’s the foundation on which all else rests. And it’s the one that is least understood.
“The real evidence that makes clear all of the dangers that befall individuals and societies when sleep becomes short have not been clearly telegraphed to the public. It is the most glaring omission in the contemporary health conversation,” Walker writes.
A self-styled Sleep Ambassador, he knows a thing or two about sleep: he’s spent 20 years researching it. He’s professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and was previously a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Oh, and he founded and directs the Center for Human Sleep Science.
So it’s more than just pop science: better sleep really can change your life.