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Weight management and heart health linked to sleep

We all know a good night’s sleep is crucial for human health, but do we know why? In this recent article in Community Impact Krupaben C. Patel, MD, Family Medicine at ARC Liberty Hill breaks down the five main benefits of better sleep.

  1. Better focus in the morning. Sleep acts as a memory bank for the body, storing all of the previous day’s memories for later use. “Whatever happened yesterday at the office, we process at nighttime and put it in our hard drive so whenever we need it, it’s there,” Dr. Patel said. “We are not forgetting about it, so now we are able to focus on the project pretty deeply instead of forgetting the details.”
  2. Stronger heart, better health. Not sleeping enough can also lead to high blood pressure. “As we go deeper and deeper into sleep, our hormones can help decrease our blood pressure, so heart rate goes down,” Dr. Patel said. “That means it’s a better heart when we are not forcing it to pump too much.”
  3. Blood sugar control. “If we get deep uninterrupted sleep, our blood sugar level stays low,” Dr. Patel said. “If we don’t sleep, our cortisol level goes up, and cortisol means high sugar and insulin resistance, which could lead to pre or full diabetes.”
  4. Boosted immune system. Deep sleep helps hormones in the body regulate the immune system. Getting a good night’s sleep helps recover from infection, injury and even helps boost vaccine effectiveness. “Chronic loss of sleep can cause a rise in inflammatory cytokines and cause a higher risk of heart disease and metabolic disease,” she said.
  5. Better weight management. Sleep is a key component of both weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. “When we don’t sleep, we are tired and our mood changes, so now we are going to eat more carbs and unhealthy foods, and we are not exercising because our muscles didn’t get a chance to heal,” Dr. Patel said.

When to seek help for better sleep

Dr. Patel recommends that patients seek help when their personal or professional life is being negatively affected by their chronic insomnia. She said many people believe it is okay to not get enough sleep during the week and then catch up on the weekends – but that’s not always true.

“If we need two hours to catch up in a week then it’s okay, but most people with chronic insomnia are always in ‘sleep debt’ that begins to accumulate and causes long term health issues,” Dr. Patel said.

Make an appointment today

Make an appointment with Dr. Patel by calling ARC Liberty Hill at 512-778-7003, or online.

Tags: weight management, Heart Health, Sleep

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