Why healthy sleep is so important?
In the past, sleep was often ignored by doctors and surrounded by myths. Now, though, we are beginning to understand the importance of sleep to overall health and well-being.
Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more. When people get less than 6 to 7 hours of sleep each night, they are at a greater risk of developing diseases.
Here are 8 evidence-based reasons why good sleep is important.
Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
A 2010 study found that C-reactive protein, which is associated with heart attack risk, was higher in people who got six or fewer hours of sleep a night.
When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body's functions are put on high alert, which causes high blood pressure and the production of stress hormones. High blood pressure increases your risk for heart attack and stroke, and the stress hormones make it harder to fall asleep.
Increased stress hormones caused by lack of sleep raises the level of inflammation in your body. This creates a greater risk for heart-related conditions, as well as cancer and diabetes. Inflammation is thought to cause the body to deteriorate as we age.
People who work late shifts have a higher risk of developing breast and colon cancer. Melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, is thought to protect against cancer as it appears to suppress the growth of tumors. Be sure that your bedroom is dark and avoid using electronics before bed in order to help your body produce the melatonin it needs.
During sleep, your body may be resting, but your brain is busy processing your day, making connections between events, sensory input, feelings, and memories. Deep sleep is a very important time for your brain to make memories and links, and getting more quality sleep will help you remember and process things better.
Researchers at Harvard University and Boston College found that people seem to strengthen the emotional components of a memory during sleep, which may help spur the creative process.
People who sleep fewer than 7 hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese. It is thought that a lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones in the body that affect appetite. The hormones that regulate appetite, have been found to be disrupted by lack of sleep. If you want to maintain or lose weight, don't forget that getting adequate sleep on a regular basis is a huge part of the equation.
Researchers have found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat - 56% of their weight loss - than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle mass. (They shed similar amounts of total weight regardless of sleep.). Dieters in the study also felt hungrier when they got less sleep.
Sleep impacts many of the chemicals in your body, including serotonin. People with serotonin deficiencies are more likely to suffer from depression. You can help to prevent depression by making sure you are getting the right amount of sleep: between 7 and 9 hours each night.
- Body repair
Sleep is a time to relax, but it's also a time during which the body is hard at work repairing damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays, and other harmful exposure. Your cells produce more protein while you are sleeping. These protein molecules form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair the damage.
A Stanford University study found that college football players who tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for seven to eight weeks improved their average sprint time and had less daytime fatigue and more stamina.
How you can see, healthy sleep is really vital for your physical health. It promotes peak performance and productivity. It also helps you fight off infection, maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic diseases. It is a habit and just depends on our will. Do you want to start working on these habits? Check our blog: How to have a good night sleep and get some tips for better sleep!
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