Adequate sleep is often under-rated. However, it is incredibly important and it is just as important as eating. Unfortunately though, many of us are getting lesser and lesser sleep these days and are guilty of sacrificing our slumber time for other “more important” matters in our lives. So that’s why we’ve prepared a list of 8 reasons why it’s essential for you to start shuffling things around to make time for the required 8 hours of sleep every night.
1. Sleep keeps your heart healthy
The quality of your sleep has a major effect on your health. The lack of sleep has been associated with the worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke. In fact, it has been proven that your heart health will increase if you get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
2. Sleep reduces stress and eliminates inflammation
When our bodies are sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body’s functions are put on high alert and that causes high blood pressure and the increase production of the stress hormones. Sleep loss is also known to activate undesirable markers of inflammation and cell damage and poor sleep has been strongly linked to long term inflammation of the digestive tract and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
3. Sleep improves memory and productivity
By now you would have realised that sleep is very important for various reasons, which includes cognition, concentration, productivity and performance. While we sleep, our body rests, and while that happens, our brain takes over and processes our day, making connections between every event, sensory input, feelings and memories. Therefore deep sleep is very important to help us remember and process things better. And when we get adequate amounts of sleep, we wake up feeling refreshed, active and ready to engage in our own respective worlds. Hence improving productivity in our day!
Fun Fact: Our minds are busy when we snooze. It is while we sleep when our brains strengthen our memories and “practice” the skills that we learnt while we were awake.
4. Sleep helps you lose weight
Research has found that those who sleep fewer hours each night are more likely to be overweight or obese. This is because the lack of sleep causes the imbalance of the hormones ghrelin and leptin which regulates our appetites. This imbalance then prompts sleep-deprived individuals to have a bigger appetite and indulge in more calories. So if you’re looking to lose weight or stay healthy, remember to get adequate amounts of sleep on a regular basis.
5. Sleep reduces the risk of depression
Sleep plays a vital role in the production of chemicals in our body, one of which is serotonin. When we lack sleep, the production of serotonin is affected and this results in higher risks of mental health problems like depression. It is estimated that 90% of people with depression complain about sleep quality, and poor sleep is also often associated with the increased of death by suicide. Those with sleeping disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea have also reported higher rates of depression cases than those without.
6. Sleeps affects emotions and social interactions
Sleep loss interferes in our ability to interact socially. Studies found that people who had no sleep had a reduced ability to recognise expressions of anger and happiness. Researchers believe that deprived sleep affects our abilities to distinguish important social cues and process emotional information.
7. Sleep improves immunity
A 2 week study that monitored the development of the common cold found that those who slept less than 7 hours were almost 3 times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more. Therefore if you find yourself getting colds more often, try and make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep each night and see how that helps you.
8. Sleep helps the body repair itself
Sleep is a time to relax, but it is also crunch time! It’s time when the body is hard at work repairing the damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays and other harmful exposure. When we sleep, our bodies produce more protein and these protein molecules form the building blocks for the cells, allowing them to repair any internal damage.
While these are just 8 simple benefits of sleep, there are a lot more. So we must start understanding the importance of sleep in our lives and stop taking sleep for granted. It’s time to invest in quality sleep every day. Remember, if we sleep better, we’ll definitely live a better life! That’s crystal clear!