Why sleeping more is healthy, helps you lose weight, and can even help you keep your New Year's resolutions


Sleep is good, period. But sadly, many people neglect to have a proper night's sleep because they are so caught up with their day-to-day activities, such as work, that they allow it to affect every aspect of their lives.

Looking to encourage people to get at least six hours of sleep a day, "The Art of Falling Asleep" co-author Dave Gibson, has told The Huffington Post that sleeping actually helps people stick to their New Year's resolutions more. Whenever the New Year rings in, people promise themselves that they will lose weight, exercise more, and eat healthier. But after just a few weeks, they revert back to their old ways.

Gibson said that if people focus more on getting proper sleep, everything will fall into place. Take eating healthy, for example. Gibson said that people tend to reach for sweets and carbs if they're feeling tired instead of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables.

"When you lack sleep you crave sugary sweet foods, carbs and salty snacks. They are pleasure foods. We don't tend to go for fatty foods and proteins because they aren't rewarding. Basically, you are pleasure eating as a stimulus," he said.

The same goes for weight loss. "If you don't sleep, you will get a reduced level of leptin, which is the hormone that will tell you you are full; and you get an increased level of ghrelin, which tells you when you are hungry," explained Gibson. "So you are removing the 'I am full' signal and adding the 'I am hungry' signal. As a result, you don't feel satisfied by food."

He added that lack of sleep fools the body into thinking that it is in crisis, so it clings to body fat, which is "the thing that gives me my energy."

As for exercise, Gibson said that good sleep helps people get the most out of their workouts. Sleep helps people improve their motor skills, so they function better on a physical level. "If you get less than six hours of sleep, you'll have a decrease in muscle strength and aerobic output. The more you sleep, the better you will exercise and the more you exercise, the better you will sleep - it's a nice cycle," he said.

Meanwhile, Raymonde Jean, MD, director of sleep medicine and associate director of critical care at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City also provided another good and simple reason why proper sleep is good - it positively impacts a person's way of life.

"Many things that we take for granted are affected by sleep," he told Health Magazine. "If you sleep better, you can certainly live better. It's pretty clear."