The relationship between sleep and health is an important one. We’ve all heard it from our doctors and even our parents.
Yet, despite frequent reminders of the importance of sleep, 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep, according to the CDC. One of the main reasons for disturbed sleep patterns is the intrusion of technology in everyday life, particularly smartphones and other handheld devices.
The reduced quality of sleep and shorter sleep hours are producing unhealthy lifestyle patterns. It’s time to change that.
In this article, we’ll discuss eight reasons why sleep is essential to health.
1. Bodyweight and sleep
Studies show a positive and significant correlation between people who get insufficient sleep and higher body weight. There is consensus among scientific researchers that short sleep duration is a prominent risk factor for obesity in both children and adults.
There are various mechanisms by which poor sleep contributes to weight gain, including hormonal imbalances, lack of energy, and reduced motivation for exercise and physical activity.
This is why any weight-reduction plan that doesn’t include proper, sufficient sleep is unlikely to be effective.
2. Sleep and cognition
Sleep improves the ability to concentrate and productivity levels. The effects of good sleep on memory make it all the more important to ensure you are sleeping well every night.
According to one study, sleep deprivation has a harmful effect on some aspects of brain function in much the same way as long-term alcohol use.
It’s important to focus on brain health because it indirectly affects every part of your body. Ignoring sleep and developing habits that interfere with healthy patterns of sleep can interfere with brain function, which can affect your quality of life.
3. Sleep and risk of stroke
One of the most negative impacts of poor sleep is that it increases the risk of chronic heart disease and strokes.
Generally, researchers agree that 7-8 hours of sleep are necessary for every individual. Any lower than that over a long enough period tends to increase the risk of health problems.
The risk of heart disease is particularly worrying because it is one of the major causes of death worldwide. Although it is only one of the various factors, taking sleep seriously should be on your priority list if you’re trying to adopt a more healthy lifestyle.
If you are having trouble sleeping well without interruptions, the quality of your mattress may be a contributing factor. Explore this list of recommended mattresses if you feel like it’s time to change the mattress because comfort in your resting place can boost the quality and length of sleep.
4. Sleep and appetite regulation
If you have fitness goals and are working hard in the gym to get in shape, you’re probably well aware of the importance of a good diet in helping you achieve that goal. But did you know that sleep plays an important role in regulating your appetite and thus controlling the number of calories your body requires?
Poor sleep is known to disturb appetite and disturb hormone levels, leading to inconsistent appetite patterns. The production of leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite, is usually reduced when you’re not sleeping enough, while ghrelin, the appetite-stimulating hormone, sees increased production.
The result is that you end up consuming surplus calories, which can slow down your fitness gains. And that’s an outcome no fitness enthusiast would like to experience.
5. Sleep and depression
Many mental disorders, primarily depression, are closely linked to bad sleep quality. A study revealed that 90% of people suffering from depression experience troubles with the quality of sleep they’re getting each night.
The risk of suicide is also higher for people displaying poor sleeping behaviors. For these reasons, it is extremely important to take measures for better sleep as part of your mental healing regimen.
6. Social interactions and sleep
Social interactions require a good understanding of social cues and identifying other people’s emotions and behaviors. Sleep deprivation affects emotional intelligence and the ability to discern the emotions of others.
This can cause conflicts and problems in interpersonal relationships. Moreover, since bad sleep is associated with depression, this further exacerbates social behavior.
7. Sleep and immune response
The immune system is highly sensitive to sleep disturbances. The body releases important chemicals during sleep which aid many aspects of immune function. When sleep is reduced, the ability of the immune system to protect your body from viral and other infections is also reduced in response.
According to a study, people who sleep less than hours are three times more likely to contract a viral infection when exposed than people getting sound sleep of 8 hours or more. So, if you’re one of those who are always quick to catch a seasonal cold or flu, you should ask yourself if you’ve been sleeping well enough.
8. Sleep and diabetes
Diabetes, like most chronic health conditions, can significantly reduce the quality of life of patients. Sleep deprivation can adversely affect blood sugar levels, leading to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. It also reduces insulin sensitivity, which is essential to controlling sugar in the blood.
One study found that even among healthy young men, symptoms of prediabetes begin to appear if sleep is restricted. The study participants were allowed only 4 hours of sleep for six consecutive nights when the symptoms of prediabetes became noticeable.
This shows that a poor sleep cycle can be seriously harmful even in the short term. The good thing is that these symptoms can be reversed with better sleep quality and duration.
Sound sleep is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle. From the strength of your immune system to the quality of your daily life interactions with people, sleep plays an important role across a wide range of bodily functions.
Therefore, make sure that you don’t ignore your body’s sleep requirements of 7-8 hours each night to maximize your performance and maintain good health throughout life.
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