If the importance of sleep hasn’t been emphasized on you yet, you are probably living in a world of your own. Sleep is the most important (& most neglected too) aspect of health and wellness. So many people consider sleep as an unnecessary routine. The non-stop 24/7 lifestyle is encouraging longer working hours and the sleeping time is getting diminished day by day even though there are so many studies out stressing the importance of sleep. There are so many studies out which have stressed upon the importance of sleep yet more studies have claimed that people are sleeping for fewer hours now a days. Millions of people suffer lack of sleep and may even have some sort of sleeping disorder too. Studies have proven that an adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per day in order to function at optimum levels. Here we are going to provide you with 12 reasons which will prove the importance of sleep in your life although there are a countless more reasons for you to sleep in order to lead a healthier life.
Sleep Boosts Mood
A good night’s sleep will make you feel alive and refreshed in the morning. And the reasoning behind this is fairly obvious one too. Once you get adequate sleep, your body isn’t that tired and doesn’t require that much effort to accomplish everyday tasks. Therefore, all your cells, organs work at optimum level thereby making you feel good about yourself.
Yes, it is true and not just a phrase from a story. Lack of sleep causes dark circles under your eyes and prolonged sleep deprivation can further aggravate those dark circles. And let’s face it; no one wants those bad boys on our face. So instead of spending your bucks on makeup and concealers, we suggest getting a good sleep. You’ll start to see those dark circles disappear in no time.
Improved brain function
Our brain is the most vital organ of the body along with the heart. Its function is related to cognition, memory, productivity and performance. And lack of sleep plays havoc with brain functioning and your productivity will definitely nose dive if your brain doesn’t work at a proper level. You’ll also more likely to have better concentration with better sleep. There are numerous studies that have proven that students who have had proper sleep have better problem solving skills than students who have had a lack of sleep. Better sleep also assists in reorganizing and restructuring memories, which may result in more creativity as well. So the importance of sleep takes even more prominence when it comes to your brain.
Increased athletic performance
Athletes train hard to excel at their respective sports and then body suffers from fatigue due to all the hard work. Inadequate sleep has been scientifically associated with poor exercise performance and functional limitation. Prolonged lack of sleep leads to slower walking, lower grip strength and cognitive disruption, all of which is very important for an athlete. Longer sleep is shown to significantly improve speed, accuracy, reaction times, and mental wellbeing. So if you’re an athlete, importance of sleep should never be lost on you.
Sleep improves immunity
Here’s an interesting finding from a study – “People who slept less than 7 hours were almost three times more likely to develop common cold than those who slept 8 hours or more.” This proves that even a slight loss of sleep can lead to decreased immune function. If you frequently suffer from common cold, chances are that you aren’t getting proper sleep.
Sleep curbs inflammation
Inflammation is the underlying cause of so many ailments like Chrohn’s disease, arthritis, stroke, digestive disorders and premature aging. People who sleep for less than 6 hours carry higher levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood levels than people who sleep for more than 6 hours. It is now being recommended by several doctors to get sleep evaluation done for patients of long term inflammatory issues.
Sleep reduces diabetes risk
Reduced sleep affects blood glucose levels and reduces sensitivity to insulin, thereby, making the person at risk for type 2 diabetes. A very interesting study put some healthy young men under sleep restriction from 6 hours to 4 hours duration in a single day. This was carried on for one week. On the 7th day, all the vitals of these men were measured and they were found to have symptoms of pre-diabetes. And interestingly enough, those symptoms vanished when they returned to their normal sleeping routine of 6-7 hours/day. This clearly shows that diabetes and sleep may have a direct correlation.
Lack of sleep leads to stroke
C-reactive protein is a special type of protein primarily associated with heart attack. It is also found to be higher in people who got six or less hours of sleep. Inflammation caused due to lack of sleep can affect blood pressure of the body which can further lead towards a stroke or a heart attack. And it is a well-known fact that people suffering from sleeping disorders do tend to suffer from blood pressure as well. So sleep better for a healthy heart.
Helps avoid depression
We live in a stressful environment of hectic life, work deadlines & obscure relationships. This continued exposure to stressful conditions paired with poor lifestyle leads an individual to panic and anxiety which further turns into full blown depression. Sleeping pills is generally the first medication prescribed to patients suffering from depression which clearly proves the relation between sleep and depression. A person can decrease his/her anxiety with a good night’s sleep and it also results in emotional stability. Importance of sleep becomes more prominent in todays’ world as more and more people turn depressed.
Sleep improves social and emotional behavior
Loss of sleep impacts our ability to interact socially and may also impact emotional stability as well. It also affects our ability to process emotional cues and emotional information. One study proved that people who slept for less than 4 hours in a day for a month had a reduced ability to recognize facial expressions like anger, happiness, sadness etc. They also had difficulty reading body language of individuals.
Reduces risk of obesity
Sleep duration is one of the strongest factors for obesity. In fact people with shorter sleeping duration are almost 70-80% more likely to suffer from obesity. That is a staggering statistic in itself. Experts believe that effect of sleep on obesity may also be caused by hormonal imbalance and motivation to exercise. Also quality of sleep takes precedence over quantity of sleep when it comes to excess weight loss.
Increased Life Span?
We put a question mark after this reason as it is still not clear that whether increased life span due to better sleep is a cause or an effect. Increased risk of diseases due to poor sleeping habits may cause this or increased general well-being of an individual. What is clear is that too little sleep is definitely associated with decreased life span. In a 2010 study of women ages 50 to 79, more deaths occurred in women who got less than five hours or more than six and a half hours of sleep per night. Proper sleep also leads to better quality of life as clearly visible from the points above. If you sleep better, you certainly live better too. What may also cause increased life span due to better sleep is improved concentration and brain function. Improved concentration reduces the chances of being involved in road accidents which in turn leads to better life spans too.
Now that you have read all the points above, we would also like to add a few things to top it all. Although lack of sleep is clearly not good for you, over sleeping is no good either. Do follow recommended sleeping patterns as prescribed by professionals. Also we believe in quality of sleep rather than quantity of sleep. So if you are getting a quality sleep of 6-7 hours, it is much better than an interrupted sleep of 10 hours.
Together with nutrition and exercise, sleep combines to form the three pillars of good health. You cannot achieve good health if you neglect any three of them.
As always, stay healthy!!!