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Beyond a better mood and less under-eye circles, a good night's sleep renders a number of health benefits. Squeezing in the recommended 7-9 hours each night plays an equal part with a healthy diet and regular exercise when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle. Make sure to account for adequate sleep when planning your fitness routine - you'll be surprised by the difference it will make.

1. Reduced Inflammation

A study performed by the University of California suggests that people averaging less than six hours of sleep each night are at an increased risk for inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation can result in heart attack, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure. Spare yourself the increased risk of chronic disease and develop a consistent sleep schedule.

2. Improved Memory and Concentration

Quality sleep  has been shown to have an overwhelmingly positive effect on concentration and memory levels. With school around the corner, it's more critical than ever to make sure you're getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep. Who would have thought sleeping (outside of the classroom) could help improve your grades?

3. Easier Weight Loss

Sleep deprivation can actually cause your body to crave more food - typically foods high in sugar to boost your energy. In addition, fatigue has a significant effect on will, leaving you more vulnerable to the all-too-easy "I'll just exercise tomorrow" excuse. If you do miss a few hours, fight the cravings and save yourself some time by pre-packing healthy snacks in the BlenderBottle GoStak.

4. Increased Muscle Mass

Quality sleep can increase growth hormone levels, which stimulate muscle growth. Aside from bulking up, human growth hormones assist in keeping your body lean, strengthening your bones, and improving circulation.

5. Stronger Immune System

Lack of sleep inhibits the immune system's ability to respond to bacterial infections. Diwakar Balachandran, MD explains the technical reasons for this (if the phrase "inflammatory cytokines" make sense to you, check out his article) but to keep it simple, lack of sleep equals greater risk of developing a cold or flu.

6. Increased Life Expectancy

It should come as no surprise that the healthier your body, the longer you can expect to live. With a strong immune system, an increase in growth hormone levels, and reduced inflammation, the body is better prepared to withstand whatever life throws its way.

Are you getting the recommended amount of sleep?

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