A good night's sleep can actually leave you feeling positive and upbeat. In fact people who suffer from regular sleep disturbances are three times more likely to experience low mood compared to people who sleep well, according to the Great British Sleep Survey, conducted by Sleepio, an organisation dedicated to helping people sleep better.
'Poor sleep can make us less receptive to positive emotions, which in turn can make us feel miserable during the day and may increase the likelihood of us developing depression,'
Aids your weight loss
You could help lose weight by simply getting a good night's sleep. A recent study from the University of Chicago found that poor sleep led to increased levels of a hormone called ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry. The research also showed that restricting sleeping hours made it more difficult for people who were dieting to lose weight, with a poor night's sleep reducing fat loss by 55 per cent.
Better immune system
Not getting enough sleep can weaken your immune system, increasing the risk of getting flu or catching a cold. Research at the Carnegie Mellon University in the US found that people who slept for less than seven hours a night were three times more likely to catch a cold than those who slept for eight hours or more.
'Some research has shown that poor sleep impacts on the immune system and the body's ability to fight off the viruses that cause colds and flu,' says Dr Robotham. 'The researchers believe that lack of good quality sleep disrupts regulation of key chemicals produced by the immune system to fight infection.'
A healthier heart
Good sleep can have long-term benefits for a healthy heart. Research published in the European Heart Journal has indicated that people who regularly get less than six hours sleep a night could be at greater risk of heart attack or stroke.
'The heart needs rest at night, when its rate is slightly slower, so we recommend that people get a good seven to eight hours sleep,' says Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation. 'The problem with long-term poor sleep is that it can lead to stress, which is known to be a trigger for heart disease. Stress in turn can lead to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor in heart disease and other health issues.'
Sleep could even have an impact on your ability to maintain a stable relationship. According to the Great British Sleep Survey, 55 per cent of people with mild to severe insomnia had relationship problems, compared to 13 per cent of respondents who slept well.
'Clearly if you're not sleeping well, this will impact on your mood and health – which can have a negative effect on your relationships,' says the Sleep Council's Jessica Alexander.
'Couples sharing a bed might prefer different sleep environments and often compromises are made, which mean both parties sleep badly. In these cases having separate beds can really help.'
Sleep well tips
- A good sleeping environment: your bedroom should be a temple for sleep and there are a few key things to get right. 'Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet and dark with a big comfortable bed and no flickering lights from TVs and computers,' says Jessica Alexander.
- Get active: regular exercise and a healthy diet are essential for a good night's sleep. However, try to avoid eating too close to bedtime.
- Appreciate your sleep: 'Don't just fit sleep around everything else,' says Jessica Alexander. 'Instead try to prioritise good quality sleep like you would with exercise and diet.'
- Declutter: try to keep the bedroom for relaxing and sleeping, not for checking your emails on your smartphone or laptop.
- Wind down: it's all too easy to forget to relax before bedtime, but giving yourself time to unwind can make all the difference to your night's sleep. 'Try listening to music or reading a book just before going to bed, which will help you wind down more than the TV or computer games,'