ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why You Need A Good Night’s Sleep For Optimal Health

Updated on March 15, 2020
John Iovine profile image

Science writer and experimenter. Conventionally published in science, technology, computers, personal development, health, & fitness.


Sleep is critical. One cannot keep a healthy mind and brain without enough sleep. Sleep deprivation studies bear this out. Loss of sleep is associated with poorer decision making, a loss of appetite control with an increase in hunger (bad combo). Changes in glucose and insulin tolerance that lead to increases in obesity and diabetes. [1]

Think about self imposed sleep deprivation for a second, who is making you sleep deprived? You? No one’s awarding you brownie points for burning the candle at both ends. As you can see from the introduction you are doing yourself a mighty disservice.

Sleep Yourself Thin

In the short term, the mild and chronic lack of getting a full night’s sleep may inhibit the complete flushing out all these accumulated brain wastes and be responsible for the effects of sleep deprivation. For instance, there is a higher rate of obesity among people who average less than seven hours of sleep a night. Think of the millions of people who are trying to lose weight and control their appetite without getting enough sleep is just making that task harder.

Maybe I should write a diet book, Sleep Yourself Thin, anyone?

What is it about sleep that makes it necessary?


Sleep Is The Time When The Brain Removes Waste

Sleep as it turns out, is the brain’s waste removal system. During sleep the glymphatic system turns on removing harmful amyloid proteins that accumulate in the brain during the day. When you sleep the Interstitial Space Volume of the brain increases that allows for the transportation of toxic waste out of the brain. [2] [3] Excessive amyloid proteins are linked to neurological conditions like Alzheimers.

Best Sleep Positions

The glymphatic system is a relatively recent discovery, so there remains much to learn as it applies to humans. With rats, we learned that the lateral (sleeping on the side) position is best for the glymphatic system to remove waste. Followed by the supine position (sleeping on the back) and lastly in the prone position (sleeping on the stomach).

Whether these positions will be the same for humans remains to be tested. [4]

Sleep for Body Repair and Muscle Building

Some people working out at the gym believe they are building muscle at the gym. This is not so. Muscle building occurs after the gym while sleeping. The restorative process repairs the body and build muscle. Critical to this process is the release of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1).

About 80 percent of HGH is released during sleep, and it’s the HGH that triggers IGF-1 secretion.


IGF-1 uses the same receptor sites as insulin. If you eat carbohydrates before sleep, your blood sugar rises, the pancreas releases insulin. The insulin binds to its receptor sites blunting the positive effects of IGF-1.

Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

  1. Set the environment. Do you have a TV in your bedroom? If so, remove it. Your bedroom is for sex and sleeping.
  2. Declutter. If your sleeping quarters are messy, clean it up. Don’t have your mind pulled away and become distracted by the mess.
  3. Get comfortable. Mattress, sheets and pillow. Find ones you love.
  4. Set a schedule. Plan on 8 hours of sleep. Decide what time you’re going to bed and when you’re waking up. This is hard I know. Trying to go to sleep on a schedule and not when you're tired can be frustrating.
  5. Darkness. With the lights off, is your bedroom dark? If not, see what you can do to kill the ambient light.
  6. Noise. Live in a noisy environment, consider background noise. White noise generator or natural sounds, like rain or waves on a beach.
  7. Cooler is better. Personal preference must rule here. I’m comfortable at 68 degrees.
  8. Caffeine — If you’re sensitive to caffeine restrict it before bedtime.
  9. Exercise — Too close to bedtime can wake some people up.

Difficulty Falling Asleep

  1. Take a melatonin supplement an hour before bedtime. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland and is a popular sleep aid.
  2. Read a book until you get sleepy. And by book I mean a real paper book, not a glowing screen.
  3. Meditating while lying down in bed. I’ve found myself falling asleep more than once during normal daytime practice.
  4. If after 20 minutes of lying in bed, sleep is still elusive, get up and do something to relax. Watch TV or listen to music until you become sleepy.

© 2020 John Iovine


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)