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Improve your health through your sleep pattern.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

It's January, and everywhere we're being bombarded with images and advertisements of how we can nip, tuck and generally improve our bodies in order to keep up with our New Year's resolutions.

But while it's one thing to get more exercise and eat better, we have to consider – are we getting enough sleep? There are more benefits to getting a good night's sleep than you might think – here are just a few areas of your body which will benefit.

Your waistline:

If you are one of the aforementioned January dieters, then you'll be pleased to know there's one way of keeping trim that doesn't involve pounding on a treadmill. Studies have shown that those who are sleep deprived are more likely to crave food – particularly sugary treats – so make sure you're setting yourself targets to get seven to eight hours per night.

Your back:

Many of us may not realise it, but our back problems can be down to more than just acquiring injuries from sport or any other type of exercise. In fact, anything from poorly adjusted office chairs to a badly sprung mattress can contribute to those aches and pains, so make sure you're doing all you can to prevent this. For example, you can make sure you get a better night's sleep by replacing your mattress every nine to 10 years – you'll also feel the benefits from the improved sleep too!

Your skin:

They say you are what you eat, but you are what you sleep, too! It doesn't quite have the same ring to it, but the underlying point is that by getting more sleep, your skin will look less tired, with fewer lines and generally have a better 'glow' to it. For example, sleeping with a few pillows propping your head up will encourage fluid to drain away from your eyes, helping to prevent the dreaded 'puffy eye' look that we all suffer from every now and then.

Your brain!

This one might not be as visible as your skin, but you'll certainly feel the difference mentally if you catch up on your sleep. In June last year, studies published in the journal Science revealed that sleep can improve your memory. It was revealed that those who get more sleep have more connections between neurons, helping us to learn and store more information and recall it at a later date. You can help to improve your memory, for example, when revising for an exam, by learning the new information just before bed. You'll be amazed at how much sticks!