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The benefits of getting enough sleep

From improved weight-loss and creativity to an increase in productivity, the benefits of sleep are much greater than most of us realise

Sleep improves weight-loss

If you’re trying to lose weight, it may be time for an early night. In a study by the University of Chicago in the US, overweight adults following a balanced, restricted-kilojoule diet lost 55% more weight as fat (almost 1kg) after two weeks when they slept for 8,5 hours each night compared with a period of sleeping for only 5,5 hours. When you’re short on shuteye, study authors say, your body produces more ghrelin, one of the hunger hormones. To keep the munchies at bay, sleep for however long it takes you to feel well rested in the morning.

 

Sleep increases productivity

Take a nap for 20 minutes between 1pm and 3pm in the afternoon. Studies by, among others, Dr Sara Mednick, coauthor of Take A Nap! Change Your Life (Workman Publishing Company), and researcher at the University of California, Riverside in the US, have found that a short nap that ends before you drop into deep sleep is the most refreshing and makes you most productive afterwards.

 

Sleep improves creativity

New research shows that when we sleep the brain not only consolidates our memories for later retrieval, it also reorganises these memories to help us produce new and creative ideas.

 

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