Hi, I’m Heather Lake, a health and lifestyle contributor for Jenny Craig. Here’s your healthy tip for the week: Tuck in early! Did you know that getting enough rest is an important part of maintaining your overall health? Getting the sleep you need allows your body to recover from the events of your day and prepare for the next. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may be more tempted to reach for a sugary pastry to get you through your morning meetings or a candy bar to power you through the afternoon — instead of sticking to your healthy eating plan for the day. How many hours is enough? The National Sleep Foundation recommends aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults.1
To sleep or not to sleep? When you’re juggling a busy schedule with a long list of things to do, making sure you go to bed early might not be a priority. But no matter how jam-packed your day is, try not to skimp on sleep! These are some of the biggest benefits of sleep, plus tips to help you go to bed early.
5 health benefits of sleep
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels
1. Sleep can support your weight loss efforts. If you’re looking to lose weight, there’s a good reason to get plenty of shut-eye: It might help lower the number on the scale. Study participants who followed a reduced-calorie meal plan and slept 8.5 hours per night found that more than half of the weight they lost was fat, compared to those who slept 5.5 hours per night.2
2. It may help you manage your appetite. The “hunger hormones,” leptin and ghrelin, play a part in appetite management. While leptin encourages feelings of satisfaction, ghrelin helps stimulate appetite. One study found that participants who had short sleep periods experienced higher levels of ghrelin and lower levels of leptin.3 Another study found that people who slept 5.5 hours per night ate more snacks than those who slept 8.5 hours.4
3. It could boost your memory. Sleep may help with easier memory recall, one study found.5 In the study, participants were asked to remember made-up words they’d been told after staying awake for 12 hours, or after sleeping at night. Those who had slept overnight were much better at recalling words than those who stayed awake.6 Try these eight tips to help sharpen your memory.
4. A good night’s sleep could improve your motor skills. Study participants who learned a simple task and followed it with a night’s rest gained a 20% increase in speed without losing accuracy.7 Researchers think this may have a significant impact on real-life skills, like learning a sport or how to play an instrument.
5. Sleep may support a healthy immune system. T cells are a type of white blood cell that’s crucial to the immune system — they help to protect the body from infection.8 Study participants who slept through the night had T cells with a boosted response when samples of their blood were taken. Those who stayed awake all night did not have the same results.9 Here are 5 more tips to boost your immune system before flu season hits.
To get the most out of all these sleep benefits, the National Sleep Foundation advises getting 7-9 hours of shut-eye every night.1 If you’re not sure how to go to bed early (trust us, that endless to-do list can wait!), these tips can help.
- Practice great sleep hygiene. “Sleep hygiene” is a broad term that refers to healthy sleep habits. Here are 10 easy sleep hygiene tips you’ll definitely want to include in your nighttime routine.
- Plan for your travels. If you’re taking a vacation soon, these surprising tips could keep you feeling well-rested.
- Try something nutritious. These seven delicious, good-for-you foods could help you snooze all night long.
Weight loss might be one of the benefits of sleep, but eating nutritious foods in proper portions is key when it comes to reaching your health and weight loss goals. Jenny Craig offers a balanced approach to weight loss to help support a healthy lifestyle. Choose your menu to get started!
Stephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig and has written for the health and wellness, tech, and environmental industries. Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies. They employ an “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoy the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find them photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.
Favorite healthy snack: green apple slices with sunflower butter
Briana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, California. She is passionate about utilizing food as functional and preventative medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs.
Favorite healthy snack: peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!)
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and fact-checked by Briana Rodriquez, RDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Jenny Craig.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
This article contains trusted sources including scientific, peer-reviewed papers. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.