What Are The Benefits Of Getting Enough Sleep?
Oftentimes, people neglect the benefits of getting enough sleep during the night, and won’t pay attention to their sleep habits until it’s too late.
Most living things on earth need to sleep; in fact, recent research shows that even the unicellular organisms (e.g. bacteria, parasites) exhibit similar behavior to sleep.
Sleep in important for many of the body’s physiological processes, including:
The prevention of many chronic diseases
Maintaining the competence of your immune system
The regulation of hormonal physiology
Now, without further ado, here are some of the major benefits of sleeping well:
1. It Helps You Lose Or Simply Manage Your Weight
The connection between poor sleep and obesity has been established throughout multiple clinical trials and studies.
In fact, one meta-analysis found that individuals who sleep for shorter hours are at a higher risk to become obese in the future; subsequently, the study found that 55% of adults and 89% of children who get fewer hours of sleep have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI).
Moreover, sleep-deprived individuals report having an increased appetite, which was linked to the effect of sleep on regulating hunger-suppressing hormones such as ghrelin and leptin.
2. It Helps You Improve Your Memory And Concentration
Getting enough sleep during the night is crucial for the normal functioning of your memory, as sleep helps the brain perform what’s known as “memory consolidation”.
As you may know, we have two types of memories; short term memory and long terms memory. All the information that we receive during the day is encoded in our short-term memory; however, if we want this information to stick, it has to be transferred to the long-term memory, and that’s exactly what happens when you sleep.
This is the reason researchers don’t recommend pulling an all-nighter before the exam, as most of the information you study that night is going to be lost.
In addition to memory, sufficient sleep will also help you concentrate during the day, and you probably remember that one day when you didn’t have enough sleep and spent the whole day dizzy and distracted.
3. It Makes You More Energetic And Productive
“There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled.” ― Edward Lucas
We all have that one friend who is always complaining of how tired he/she is, and that they can’t be productive that day.
If you ought to give that friend one single piece of advice, tell them to improve their sleep quality.
Sleeping for 7-8 hours every night will help regulate your hormones, as well as your circadian rhythm, which will improve your energy levels and make you more productive every day.
4. It Helps You Keep Your Heart Healthy
According to the centers for disease control and prevention (CDC), people who sleep less 7 hours a night are most likely to report having a health problem, including cardiovascular disease.
This was attributed to the many medical conditions that can be triggered by chronic sleep deprivation, which compose risk factors for heart disease themselves. These conditions include:
Type 2 diabetes
5. It Helps You Improve Your Immune Function
Sleep helps the regulation of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory compounds of the immune system. Any dysfunction in this system can have dire consequences ranging from immunodeficiency and recurrent infections to a hyperactive immune system that results in allergies and autoimmune diseases.
In a 2013 study, researchers found that partial sleep restriction was associated with the excessive stimulation of inflammation-signaling pathways that put patients at an increased risk of developing allergies, autoimmune diseases, and cardiometabolic diseases.
6. It Helps You Lower Your Blood Pressure
As discussed earlier, sleep deprivation is associated with higher blood pressure, which can be detrimental in the long-term.
One study found that sleep deprivation in middle-aged individuals was linked to a higher risk of developing chronic blood hypertension.
This is especially concerning because sleep deprivation can also increase other cardiovascular risk factors.
Overall, getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night can help your body control blood pressure by improving hormonal, neural, and mechanical regulation of the blood vessels.
7. It Helps You Reduce Stress And Improve Your Mood
Sleep deprivation is linked to an active state of vigilance; in other words, to our primal brains, staying up all night means your life is in danger and some bear is trying to eat you!
This will trigger the fight or flight system (sympathetic nervous system), resulting in the release of stress hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol.
This effect is further exacerbated by your poor physical energy, which you didn’t have time to fully replenish due to your lack of sleep.
In conclusion, you will spend the next day stressed and in a bad mood.
One of the benefits of getting enough sleep is that your body will downregulate the secretion of stress hormones, which subsequently leads to stress reduction and improved mood the very next day.
8. It Helps You Maintain Good Relationships
As you’ve probably deduced by now, not getting enough sleep is bad for your health! But can this effect extend to your social life and relationships?
The answer is, yes!
When you don’t get enough sleep, your mental clarity will be compromised and your decision taking will get arbitrary.
Moreover, you will be feeling grumpy all day, which can throw off your partner and ruin your relationship.
9. It Helps You Get A Healthier Skin
The National Sleep Foundation states that sleep restriction is associated with skin inflammation and flareups of certain dermatological conditions such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and other types of eczemas.
It can also accelerate age-related skin changes such as wrinkles and sagging skin.
So, it goes without saying that sleeping sufficient hours during the night will help you get the glowing skin you’ve always dreamed of.
10. It Lowers Your Healthcare Cost
We hope it’s clear by now that sleep deprivation can be a major problem for all age-groups; not only will it put you at a higher risk for a multitude of diseases, but it will also cost you a lot of money! “How?” We hear you ask. Well, the answer is very straight forward.
You will have to spend money to get the proper management for all the conditions listed above when you could have avoided most of them by improving your sleep quality.
In fact, Harvard University estimates that sleep deprivation costs the national economy of the United States around $63.2 billion each year, which is an astronomical number that could be significantly reduced by going to bed early!