With World Sleep Day taking place today (13th of March 2020) you couldn’t dream up a better reason to get more sleep.

The average person needs around 8 hours of good-quality sleep a night. If you don’t get enough sleep there can be negative effects on your health, weight, mood and concertation.

These are the reasons you shouldn’t skip out on sleep

Sleep Affects Glucose Metabolism and Type 2 Diabetes Risk

The Sleep Foundation website1 shows that if someone has less deep sleep – which is thought to be the most restorative stage of sleep – they have less ability to maintain proper insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.

It is thought that sleeping less can increase your symptoms of prediabetes. A small study2 restricted the sleeping pattern of healthy young men to 4 hours a night for 6 nights in a row, this “caused” symptoms of prediabetes. What was interesting is that these symptoms resolved after one week of increased sleep duration.

Other studies have shown that sleeping less than 6 hours and more than 9 hours3 is associated with an increased prevalence of diabetes mellitus and impaired glucose tolerance; and, that the quantity and quality of sleep consistently and significantly” predict the risk of the development of type 2 diabetes4.

Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain

  • Not getting enough sleep is one of the largest risk factors for obesity

There is lots of evidence to support that not getting enough sleep can increase your risk of being obese.

Women who sleep for 5 hours per night are 32% more likely to experience major weight gain – in this case, major weight gain is defined as an increase of 33 pounds or more5. Women who sleep five hours or less a night are 15% more likely to become obese in the next decade.

A larger study encompassing all genders and ages showed that people who had less sleep were 89% (in adults) and 55% (in children) more likely to become obese6.

It is important to note that there are many factors and variables in these studies that have not been considered.

  • Good Sleepers Tend to Eat Fewer Calories

If you are sleep-deprived you tend to eat more calories, whether it is through choosing unhealthy food options or eating to keep up energy levels.

One study showed that people who had less sleep ate approximately 385 calories more than those who slept the correct amount7.

It also increases levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite and reduces levels of leptin, the hormone that surprises appetite8.

Sleep can affect your Immune System

Your immune system protects you from illness and helps you fights illness. During sleep it releases cytokines – a series of molecules that mediate and regulate immunity, inflammation and effectively creating an immune response – the less sleep you get the fewer cytokines your body makes.

A 2-week study monitored the development of common cold and found that those who slept less than 7 hours were 3 times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more9.

How to get a better night sleep

There are many ways to get a better night sleep:

  • Maintain a sleeping routine. The circadian rhythm functions align itself with sunrise and sunset and irregular sleep patterns can alter the rhythm and levels of melatonin which help you sleep. If you are used to going to sleep at a certain time, your body will also get used to it and sleep will come easy
  • Avoid your phone before bed, it is a distraction and the light can disrupt your circadian rhythm
  • Exercise daily
  • Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
  • Eat healthy – Sugars can keep you awake
  • Try relaxation techniques

At Everyone Health we aim to help you remain healthy. If you are struggling to maintain a healthy weight, need dietary advice or need help with physical activity take a look at our services, or call: 0333 005 0095


1.NCBI, PubMed: Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function.
2.NCBI, PubMed: Association of sleep time with diabetes mellitus and impaired glucose tolerance.
3.NCBI, PubMed: Quantity and quality of sleep and incidence of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
4.The Sleep Foundation: The Link Between a Lack of Sleep and Type 2 Diabetes.
5.Science Daily: Sleeping Less Linked to Weight Gain.
6.NCBI, PubMed: Meta-Analysis of Short Sleep Duration and Obesity in Children and Adults.
7.Nature, EJCN: The effects of partial sleep deprivation on energy balance: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
8.NCBI, PubMed: Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index.
9. NCBI, PubMed: Sleep habits and susceptibility to the common cold.

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