Sleep is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Yet millions of people do not get enough sleep and many suffer from lack of sleep. A good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health. In fact, it’s just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Unfortunately, there’s a lot that can interfere with natural sleep patterns. People are now sleeping less than they did in the past, and sleep quality has decreased as well. Here are the sleep is essential for health
Why sleep is essential for health
How much sleep we get impacts everything from our immune system to memory, and even our mental health and wellbeing. In fact, one study found that sleeping six hours per night for 14 nights, compared with regularly getting eight, produced ‘cognitive performance deficits equivalent to up to two nights of total sleep deprivation.
And, not only can one bad night’s sleep affect our mood, concentration, and alertness, but long-term sleep deprivation has far more serious consequences, and has been linked to a number of serious health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and even stroke.
The benefits of sleep for our health- Why sleep is essential for health
More social and emotional intelligence: Sleep has links to people’s emotional and social intelligence. Someone who does not get adequate sleep is more likely to have issues with recognizing other people’s emotions and expressions.
For example, one study in the Journal of Sleep Research looked at people’s responses to emotional stimuli. The researchers concluded, similarly to many earlier studies, that a person’s emotional empathy is less when they do not get adequate sleep.
Mood Boost: Another thing that your brain does while you sleep is processed your emotions. Your mind needs this time in order to recognize and react the right way. When you cut that short, you tend to have more negative emotional reactions and fewer positive ones.
Chronic lack of sleep can also raise the chance of having a mood disorder. One large study showed that when you have insomnia, you’re five times more likely to develop depression, and your odds of anxiety or panic disorders are even greater. Refreshing slumber helps you hit the reset button on a bad.
Stronger immune system: Sleep helps the body repair, regenerate, and recover. The immune system is no exception to this relationship. Some research shows how better sleep quality can help the body fight off infection.
However, scientists still need to do further research into the exact mechanisms of sleep in regards to its impact on the body’s immune system.
Reduces disease risk: People with ongoing sleep deprivation also have an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. In addition, lack of sleep also affects our immune system. Individuals who are sleep deficient may have a harder time fighting common viruses, like a cold or the flu.
Keeps weight under control: Sleep deprivation affects our body’s ability to regulate appetite hormones, so those who have poor sleeping habits tend to have bigger appetites and eat more than those who are not sleep-deprived. In fact, a study revealed that adults who are sleep deprived were 55% more likely to become obese. If you’re trying to lose weight, getting a good night’s rest is critical.
The time you spend in bed goes hand-in-hand with the time you spend at the table and at the gym to help you manage your weight.
Germ Fighting: To help you ward off illnesses, your immune system identifies harmful bacteria and viruses in your body and destroys them. Ongoing lack of sleep changes the way your immune cells work. They may not attack as quickly, and you could get sick more often.
Good nightly rest now can help you avoid that tired, worn-out feeling, as well as spending days in bed as your body tries to recover.
Healthier Heart: While you sleep, your blood pressure goes down, giving your heart and blood vessels a bit of a rest. The less sleep you get, the longer your blood pressure stays up during a 24-hour cycle. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, including stroke.
Short-term downtime can have long-term payoffs.
How much sleep is enough?
The right amount of sleep varies for each individual and it depends on age. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following ranges:
- Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
- Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
- Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
- School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
- Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
- Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
- Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours