Skip to main content

01 Feb, 2023

Five scientifically-proven ways that sleep can improve your health and wellness with Rob Hobson

We spend around one-third of our lives asleep. This process is critical to good health; without it, we would not be able to function properly. Most people are familiar with the short-term effects of poor sleep as they wander around bleary-eyed and unable to focus or concentrate properly. However, the processes that occur during the night while you sleep can have more severe implications on your health.


Here are five scientifically proven ways to ensure your health and wellness by getting enough sleep.

1. What: maintain lean muscle mass

How: increasing Human growth hormone

Human growth hormone is released by the pituitary gland and helps to support metabolism and improves muscle growth, strength and lean muscle mass. During sleep, the release of this hormone is increased, which occurs in pulses based on your circadian rhythm. Research has shown that the most reproducible pulse of human growth hormone occurs in the first phase of slow-wave-sleep shortly after sleep onset.

Research has highlighted that inadequate sleep may reduce the human growth hormone the body produces. This may impact how well tissues are repaired in the body and may impact lean muscle mass.

2. What: improve learning and memory capability

How: processing information in the brain

During sleep, the brain processes information and memories. Research has shown that memory consolidation (preserving key memories and discarding excessive information) occurs during both the sleep cycle's rapid and non-rapid eye movement stages.

Learning and memory are typically described as three functions called acquisition (introduction of new memories), consolidation (stabilising a memory) and recall (access to memory after storage). All three steps are required for good memory, but only consolidation occurs during sleep as neural connections that form our memories are strengthened.

Sleep deprivation can impact learning and memory. Difficulty remembering things is a common symptom of sleep deprivation which reflects that the brain has not had sufficient time to create new pathways for newly acquired information and affects how memories are consolidated. Lack of sleep also leads to an inability to focus attention, which means learning is not done efficiently.

3. What: improve your skin health

How: collagen production and skin behaviour

There is some science behind the idea of 'beauty sleep'. Poor sleep can leave people with unwanted symptoms that impact their appearances, such as paler skin, hanging corners of the mouth, drooping eyelids and dark circles below the eyes.

The skin can also benefit from proper sleep. It has been shown that poor sleep may impact skin wrinkling as the immune system is weakened, affecting the quality and strength of collagen produced.

Late nights and poor sleep could impact your skin's complexion as the circadian rhythm helps regulate the body's organs, including skin behaviour. At night, the skin has its highest blood flow levels, which helps repair damaged skin. Late bedtime has also been associated with decreased skin hydration.

4. What: maintain good immunity

How: stimulating the immune system

Immunity is critical to good health as it helps with healing, warding off infections and protecting against life-threatening illnesses caused by inflammation in the body. How the immune system responds to infection can impact sleep (think about how you feel when you get a cold), while at the same time, sleep helps to strengthen your immune system. Research has shown that even short-term sleep deprivation can make you more susceptible to sickness.

During sleep, it has been shown that the activity of the immune system increases. This includes increased production of specific immune cells, such as inflammation-related cytokines. This immune system response may help with recovery in someone who is ill or injured as the body works to repair wounds or fight off infection.

Research has also shown that sleep can strengthen the immune system by reinforcing its ability to remember how to identify specific pathogens that can cause harm.

5. What: It may help you to maintain a healthy weight

It has been shown that people who sleep less may have a higher BMI than those that get enough sleep. One study of over 600,000 adults also showed that the odds of being obese were one and a half times more in people who slept for less than 5 hours each night.

It is thought that sleep loss can lead to a hormonal imbalance which may encourage overeating. Leptin is the hormone that promotes satiety, signalling the brain that you are no longer hungry. Ghrelin is the hormone that promotes hunger as it is released from the stomach to stimulate appetite. When sleep is deprived, it has been shown in some people that leptin is reduced while ghrelin is increased, leading to hunger.

A lack of sleep may also influence eating behaviour as people tend to choose higher calorie foods and exercise less.

If you are struggling with your sleep as the new year hits, try adopting some basic sleep hygiene while developing your personal sleep ritual. Getting to grips with your sleep is the thing to get your health and wellness on track for 2023.

Discover more about Rob Hobson’s work here including private clients.

Need some more motivation to kickstart healthy eating habits, as well as help improve hormonal health, metabolic rate and skin health? Discover our plans designed for just that. With 4 different offerings and many options to suit different dietary preferences and lifestyles.