Sleep is an important factor for good health and well-being through your entire life. The way that you feel during waking hours is directly influenced by the quality of sleep that you get. Your body needs sleep because it is during this time that your brain function is supported, and your body is able to make the necessary repairs for you to have good physical health. So, what are the other reasons that sleep is so important?
Your Heart and Circulatory System Need to Recharge
When you are sleeping and are in non-REM sleep, your heart rate and your blood pressure are lower, and your heart gets a rest from the hard work that it does during the day. Your sympathetic system goes into operation when you are in REM sleep and when you are awake. This is when your heart rate and your blood pressure are increased. If your heart rate or blood pressure are sharply increased when you awaken you can have chest pain or even a heart attack. If you do not have enough sleep, you can be at higher risk of stroke, obesity, high blood pressure or coronary heart disease.
Immune System and Respiratory Function
When you are asleep you breathe less often, not as deeply and you inhale less oxygen. If you have such health issues as COPD or asthma, then these can become worse during the early morning hours of your sleep cycle. When you sleep a certain type of immune cell can work harder and if you do not get enough sleep, you may find that you are more susceptible to colds and other health issues.
Sleeping can Help with Weight loss or Maintenance
It is said that shorter sleep periods of less than seven hours per night can create a greater risk of weight gain or a higher BMI. Adults that do not get at least seven hours per night have a higher risk of developing obesity. Weight gain can be affected by many different factors such as hormones and exercise. Not getting enough sleep can increase ghrelin and decrease leptin levels. Ghrelin is the hormone that causes us to feel hunger while leptin is a hormone that makes us feel full. When ghrelin levels are increased, we tend to eat more calories because our appetite is larger. Lack of sleep can also lead to lack of energy which causes cravings for foods high in sugar and calories.
Improved Productivity and Concentration
Sleep is necessary for certain brain functions including productivity, concentration and cognition. Getting enough sleep is important for academic performance in children. Getting enough sleep can improve problem-solving skills and enhance memory performance. If children who are in school do not get enough sleep, they will experience problems with their schoolwork. Some children do not have the right environment to be able to get a good night’s sleep.
Increased Risk of Depression
Many mental health concerns such as depression are linked to poor sleep habits and sleeping disorders. People who have insomnia and sleep apnea are also at risk for higher rates of depression thank people who do not have these issues. If you have been experiencing issues with sleep or notice that your mental health is declining, then you should have a conversation with your doctor about how you can get a better night’s sleep.
Can Increase Heart Strength
If you have low quality sleep, you may be at risk of developing heart disease. If you sleep less than seven hours a night, then your risk of death from heart disease is increased. Short sleep can increase high blood pressure and if someone is suffering with sleep apnea then blood pressure is more likely to be severe.
Can Affect the Metabolism of Sugar
If you do not get enough sleep, it can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Sleep deprivation can cause physiological changes such as increased insult sensitivity and higher inflammation which in turn increases the risk of diabetes.
If the reasons listed here are not enough, just know that getting a good night’s sleep is perfect for both your body and your brain. It helps all of your body systems to operate well with one another. If you have less than seven hours of sleep each night you put yourself at risk for a wide range of health issues. Most people do not sleep well enough and get enough sleep. It is important to ensure that you make sleep a priority.
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