The Importance of Sleep

We always hear that we need to get enough sleep, but many of us take that fact for granted. Sleep isn’t just vital for the obvious reasons we know by heart – like giving us energy and keeping us fresher throughout the day. In fact, according to this site, the importance of sleep goes much deeper than that. Here are just some of the reasons sleep is so important and you should be ensuring that you get enough of it.

  • It Boosts Mental Health And Moods

It’s no secret that those who don’t get enough sleep tend to feel grumpier and stressed out the next day, and in turn, these higher stress levels lead to a higher blood pressure. It can affect your mood throughout the day, making you feel less happy and causing negative responses to social interaction. In addition, there are countless links between poor sleeping schedules and clinical depression. A lack of proper sleep can even increase risks of suicide.

  • It Boosts Brain Function

You make more errors while you’re running low on sleep and energy but getting enough of it doesn’t just ensure basic brain function: it improves it. When you get enough sleep, your focus and concentration are amplified. Your problem-solving skills are sharper. You perform better and are more productive. On top of that, the brain is actually keeping quite busy, even when you’re asleep. Through a process known as consolidation, it practices all sorts of skills and knowledge that you’ve picked up while awake, helping to improve your memory.

  • It Makes For Better Athletic Performance

Getting enough sleep boosts athletic performance all around and in different fields. If you play sports, it can quicken your reaction times while making you faster and more accurate. If you’re looking to build muscle, you’ll recover and gain mass faster and will stay clear of muscle atrophy. Even if you’re just looking to keep yourself in good shape, getting enough sleep helps. It allows you better overall strength and even enables you to walk faster.

  • It Prevents Unhealthy Weight Gain

If you’re wondering why you’ve been gaining weight, it could be a lack of sleep. Those who do not get sufficient rest at night are much more likely to be obese, and in general, those who sleep less tend to weigh more. To add to that, when you’re deprived of sleep, you’re more likely to overeat and will likely ingest more calories than you would if you had slept enough. This is due to the fact that not getting enough hours of sleep leads to appetite regulation hormones fluctuating incorrectly.

  • It Reduces The Risk Of Strokes And Heart Disease

We mentioned earlier that the higher stress levels caused by sleep can result in higher blood pressure. Unfortunately, this problem goes even further than that. Elevated blood pressure can lead to a bunch of cardiovascular problems, including heart disease and stroke. Studies have found that those who sleep for less than 7 hours a night are at a much higher risk of contracting these conditions. In fact, a whopping 15 different studies confirm this! This is because C-reactive proteins, which are components that increase heart disease risk, are present in higher amounts in those with little sleep.

  • It Keeps You Safe On The Road

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tiredness and sleepiness accounted for even more single car accidents involving a driver running off the road and crashing than even alcohol. This isn’t that much of a surprise, however, as short sleep has been proven to affect both the brain and the body in the same way that alcohol does. It causes slurred speech, impairs judgment, and is a factor in 20% of accidents. Essentially, driving without enough sleep carries similar dangers to drunk driving.

  • It Prevents Migraines

If you’re a common victim of migraines, then upping the amount of time you spend sleeping could work wonders. Although medical science has yet to determine exactly why and how this happens, research has shown that those who sleep less are more likely to experience migraines and headaches.

  • It Reduces The Risk Of Diabetes

Diabetes doesn’t just affect the obese; you can be skinny and still develop the condition. One of the factors that could lead to this is insufficient sleep. This is because a lack of sleep can cause blood sugar irregularity, leading to reductions in insulin sensitivity. Studies have shown that if you sleep for less than six hours every night, you are much more susceptible to developing Type 2 diabetes. It doesn’t help that diabetes is also caused by inflammation, which the body is more likely to experience if you’re missing out on valuable rest time.

  • It Boosts The Immune System

Falling sick often can be a symptom of getting too little sleep. Even just short periods of lessened rest time can lead to becoming more easily infected with the common cold. Those who sleep for less than seven hours are up to thrice as likely to develop infections and catch viruses than those who sleep eight hours per night.

  • It Helps Your Social Life

We know keeping up a social life can sometimes lead to missing a couple hours of sleep, but this might be counterproductive. Without enough sleep, you may lose the ability to interact well with others and have difficulty interpreting facial expressions, including basic ones like anger and happiness. You are also more likely to be irritable or quick to anger and extreme emotions when tired. While this doesn’t necessarily impact social life, it can certainly lead to some issues on that front.

In A Nutshell…

Sleeping for eight hours every night is crucial to overall mental and physical health. Neglecting to care for yourself by delaying sleep could be the starting point to a host of various other problems that you’ll be much better off without. Prevention is better than cure, so make sure you’re sleeping well, and your body will thank you.

About the Author

Hey, I’m Lauren Hall. I started Sleepedia in early 2015 as a way to help those who struggle with getting a good nights sleep. Typically sleep problems arise not because of stress or depression (as your doctor would have you believe) but because of poor sleeping conditions. I help people fix that.

Sources

Neurocognitive Consequences of Sleep Deprivationhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3564638/

The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21731144

A Survey Method for Characterizing Daily Life Experience: The Day Reconstruction Method – http://science.sciencemag.org/content/306/5702/1776

1 Comment
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