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The more I research the benefits of being well rested, the more I learn about how sleep affects our health. Here are a few more reasons that sleep is so important, some might surprise you…

There are many health problems linked to inflammation, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis. Recent research has shown that people who get less than six hours of sleep a night have higher levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood than of people who sleep more.

Want to perform better on the field? Studies of athletes, such as college football players, swimmers and tennis players, have shown that increased sleep led to better performance. One study conducted by Stanford University had college football players increase their sleep to a minimum of ten hours a night for seven to eight weeks. The players improved their sprint time, had less fatigue during the day and increased stamina.

If your children are having trouble concentrating at school, lack of sleep could be a cause. A study has shown that college students who do not sleep enough perform poorly (i.e. have lower grades) when compared with other students who get their recommended eight hours of sleep. Reoccurring sleep deprivation causes kids to have problems with both attention span and learning, even causing ADHD-like symptoms. Interestingly, adults and children react differently to a lack of sleep. A sleep deprived adult tends to feel tired; whereby kids can react the opposite and become hyperactive.

Being well rested can even help with weight loss. A University of Chicago study discovered that dieters who slept more, lost a higher percentage of fat versus muscle mass. The group who did not sleep as well lost more muscle than fat, but the weight loss totals were about the same. This means that sleep helps us lose fat instead of muscle when we’re trying to lose weight. Go ahead, press the snooze button…

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