Today, many people’s lives are busier than ever. From the moment we wake up till the time we go to bed, we are on the go. As people try to get more done each day, they might be sacrificing the one thing they need most: sleep.
There are many products on the market today that are designed to keep you awake, but in actuality, they may be doing more harm than good. Instead of forcing ourselves to stay awake, getting adequate sleep is exactly what our body’s need.
The Top Benefits of Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to good health. Here are the top benefits of getting plenty rest:
Helps combat obesity
Numerous studies have concluded that the risk of obesity increases in both adults and children who don’t get a full night’s sleep. One possible reason is metabolism: if a person is tired or sluggish, their metabolism slows, thus affecting their ability to burn calories efficiently.1
Improved productivity and focus
When we’re tired, it may be difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. Adequate sleep allows a person to be more alert, allowing them to focus and give projects and assignments their undivided attention. Studies show a lack of sleep has a similar effect on the brain as alcohol intoxication.2
Increased risk of stroke and heart disease
When a person sleeps, both the heart rate and blood pressure decreases, which means the heart doesn’t work as hard as compared to when we’re awake. Also, lack of sleep can increase the amount of c-reactive protein in the body (CRP), which is created along with stress and inflammation. Studies indicate each of these factors are possible reasons for the increased risk of heart disease and stroke in those who are sleep deprived.3
Sleep and depression
Studies are ongoing, but researchers have noted a link between poor mental health and sleep deprivation. A recent study on adolescents between ages 11-17 found that sleep deprivation increased the risk of major depression.
Increased risk of inflammation
Inflammation has been linked to a variety of diseases, including arthritis, heart disease and strokes. A lack of sleep has also been linked to gastro-intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and Gastro-esophageal reflux disease. Each of these ailments have been linked to inflammation as well.5
Increased immune function
During deep sleep, the body increases immunity in a variety of ways, which includes repairing blood vessels, healing wounds quicker, and restoring damaged muscles. A lack of sleep increases the susceptibility of catching colds as well.
Improved sex life
Adequate sleep keeps testosterone levels higher in males compared to those who get less than six hours per sleep nightly
Increased pain threshold
Studies indicate adequate sleep can play a role in pain tolerance. In one particular study, sleep disruption studies found a correlation between less sleep and “reports of new onset spontaneous pain” in healthy adults 6
Children aren’t the only ones who are cranky when sleepy. Frequent bouts of anger and irritability can be a sign of tiredness, which can wreak havoc on a relationship.
Improved athletic performance
A study on college basketball players found that proper amounts of sleep was key to performing at peak athletic levels.7 On the flipside, sleep deprivation can lead to increased fatigue and low energy during physical activity. This is partly due to the decreased production of carbohydrates and glycogen that’s used for energy.
Instead of consuming energy drinks for an energy boost, take a 20 minute power nap. Naps have been shown to help with memory retention in young adults,8 and daytime naps may provide short term relief for chronic sleep deprivation.9
Sleep For Good Health
The average adult needs 8 hours of sleep per night. Over time, chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a variety of health issues, ranging from obesity to heart disease. Unfortunately, many will turn to medication to treat their symptoms, which in reality may have been caused by a lack of sleep .As a result, that medication will be ineffective, especially if they continue to be sleep deprived.
Getting adequate sleep nightly is essential for good health. Starting today, make sleep a top priority. Your body will thank you.