The importance of good night’s sleep
We can all relate to feeling tired and run down if we don’t get enough sleep. However, not getting enough sleep over a longer period of time can have a big impact on our physical and mental health.
Sleep Is Essential
Getting enough sleep is essential for helping us maintain optimal health and well-being. When it comes to our health, sleep is as vital as regular exercise and eating a balanced diet.
The recommended amount of sleep for an adult is around eight hours, but some people need more, while others can cope with less. We each need to work out what works for us and then get into a healthy sleep pattern, as getting it right helps us achieve a long, happy and healthy life.
A poor night’s sleep is likely to leave us feeling irritable, tired and lethargic and can affect how we perform at work or home the next day. If your sleep is disrupted for a number of nights, you’re likely to find it difficult to concentrate and make sound decisions.
9 Reasons Why Good Sleep Is Important
We might not be getting enough sleep for all sorts of reasons. This can be because we are struggling with things affecting our mental health, physical health or quite often, money worries. Once we have addressed these, our sleep can improve dramatically.
People are now sleeping less than they did in the past, and sleep quality has decreased as well.
Here are 9 reasons why good sleep is important:
1. Poor sleep is linked to higher body weight and weight gain – People with short sleep duration tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate sleep. In fact, short sleep duration is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity. If you’re trying to lose weight, getting quality sleep is absolutely crucial.
2. Good sleepers tend to eat fewer calories – Studies show that sleep-deprived individuals have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories. Sleep deprivation disrupts the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones and is believed to cause poor appetite regulation. This includes higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite, and reduced levels of leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite.
3. Good sleep can improve concentration and productivity as good sleep is important for various aspects of brain function – This includes cognition, concentration, productivity, and performance. All of these are negatively affected by sleep deprivation. Good sleep can maximize problem-solving skills and enhance memory. Poor sleep has been shown to impair brain function.
4. Poor sleepers have a greater risk of heart disease and stroke – Sleep quality and duration can have a major effect on many health risk factors. These are the factors believed to drive chronic diseases, including heart disease. Sleeping less than 7–8 hours per night is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
5. Sleep affects glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes risk – Experimental sleep restriction affects blood sugar and reduces insulin sensitivity. In a study in healthy young men, restricting sleep to 4 hours per night for 6 nights in a row caused symptoms of prediabetes. These symptoms resolved after one week of increased sleep duration. Poor sleep habits are also strongly linked to adverse effects on blood sugar in the general population. Those sleeping less than 6 hours per night have repeatedly been shown to be at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
6. Poor sleep is linked to depression – Mental health issues, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders. It’s been estimated that 90% of people with depression complain about sleep quality. Poor sleep is even associated with an increased risk of death by suicide. Poor sleeping patterns are strongly linked to depression, particularly for those with a sleeping disorder.
7. Sleep improves your immune function – Even a small loss of sleep has been shown to impair immune function. One large 2-week study monitored the development of the common cold after giving people nasal drops with the cold virus. They 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. If you often get colds, ensuring that you get at least 8 hours of sleep per night could be very helpful. Eating more garlic can help as well.
8. Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation – Sleep can have a major effect on inflammation in your body. In fact, sleep loss is known to activate undesirable markers of inflammation and cell damage. Poor sleep has been strongly linked to long-term inflammation of the digestive tract, in disorders known as inflammatory bowel disease.
9. Sleep affects emotions and social interactions – Sleep loss reduces your ability to interact socially. Several studies confirmed this using emotional facial recognition tests.
One study found that people who hadn’t slept had a reduced ability to recognize expressions of anger and happiness. Researchers believe that poor sleep affects your ability to recognize important social cues and process emotional information. Sleep deprivation may reduce your social skills and ability to recognize people’s emotional expressions.
Along with nutrition and exercise, good sleep is one of the pillars of health. You simply cannot achieve optimal health without taking care of your sleep.