Most people underestimate the benefits of enough sleep and end up sleeping for very few hours. Adequate sleep is necessary for someone to have a healthy life.
The benefits of a good night sleep go beyond promoting a better mood or increased attention during the day. Over the years, health experts have linked many serious health problems to insufficient sleep.
Below is a list of 10 health benefits of good sleep.
Boosts your immune system
Enough sleep guarantees you a longer lifespan. A weak immune system increases your susceptibility to catching various ailments. However, if you observe a healthy sleep pattern, your immune system will remain strong. This makes it impossible for you to be easily taken down by diseases, and speeds up your healing process.
Lowers stress level
It is normal for people to get stressed as they face daily problems in life. When you get inadequate sleep your body is thrown into a state of duress. This in turn puts your normal body functions on high alert.
This alertness increases the production of stress hormones and may eventually culminate into serious health complications. Sleeping for the required duration limits production of stress hormones.
Helps fight depression
What begins as a simple depression, if not controlled can mature to full blown major depression. Depression has very serious effects on your life and general health. Note that sleep has a direct effect on chemicals like serotonin.
Lack of the hormone serotonin is known to cause depression. Sleeping for around 7 to 9 hours every night ensures good levels of serotonin are maintained thereby keeping depression at bay.
Promotes a healthy weight
Many people are hitting the gym so as to get their ideal healthy weight. Unknown to many, sleep deprivation also causes obesity. Other people are misled to think that it is the food they eat that makes them abnormally big.
Lack of sleep affects the production of the hormones ghrelin and leptin which are responsible for controlling appetite. Leptin suppresses appetite, meaning lack of it will make you eat more.
Ghrelin on the other hand increases appetite and in higher levels will make you feel hungry faster. Lack of adequate sleep makes ghrelin high and in turn reduces the levels of leptin.
In order to have a proper control of these weight controlling hormones, it is important that we sleep for not less than seven hours every night.
Promotes learning and memory
It is always difficult to learn and concentrate on something if you had a disturbed sleep. Sleep plays a major role in the learning, processing and remembering of new information. Acquisition is the process of gaining new information. In order to take new information you must be alert. Without enough sleep you will never be alert and will therefore not learn anything.
Consolidation is the process of processing the information and storing it into the brain. Consolidation can only take place when you are sleeping. If you do not sleep well then all the things you learn while you are awake are worthless.
Adequate sleep guarantees you a healthy heart
Protecting your heart should be your number one priority. Lack of sleep has been associated with high blood pressure and cholesterol which are also major risk factors for heart diseases. Most patients of heart diseases are most likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke during the early hours of the morning.
Sleep helps reduce the risk of cancer
Cancer is a chronic disease that can bring both emotional and financial strain on an individual. If you are used to working late at night then you are increasing your risk of developing either colon or breast cancer. This is because the hormone melatonin which is known to cause sleep and even shield us from cancer reduces significantly in the presence of light.
Melatonin is very effective in inhibiting the growth of cancerous tumors. This explains the importance of having a dark bedroom as darkness promotes the production of melatonin.
Sleep helps in fighting inflammation
The direct effect that sleep has on stress explains why lack of it also promotes inflammation. Increased production of stress hormones increases the level of inflammation. Inflammation causes your body to wear out as you age. Inadequate sleep worsens inflammation and makes your body more vulnerable as you move into old age.
Sleep helps in the healing and repair of body tissues
Have you ever wondered why doctors recommend rest and sleep for patients?
It is simply because they understand the healing power of sleep. When you sleep your body produces more proteins. Proteins as we know are the building blocks of almost all body cells.
This means that without proteins the body cells worn out by stress, sun rays, and infections will not be repaired.
Also sleeping after an injury promotes healing and reduces the pain. That is why patients usually sleep after taking drugs and later wake up feeling better.
Good sleep regulates cholesterol levels
The dangers of very high cholesterol in the blood are numerous. However most times we blame high cholesterol on fatty foods and lack of exercise. It is true these two factors are responsible for high cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol levels increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart diseases and even diabetes. All these ailments are life threatening and can be kept at bay by having enough sleep.
It is obvious that sleep has numerous health benefits. So instead of breaking the bank treating a disease like blood pressure, just get a good night sleep. The recommended sleep durations vary from one person to the next depending on the age group. Ideally children need more sleep than adults. Newborns require sleep duration of up to 18 hours a day.
It is recommended that children sleep for at least nine hours every night. Adults on the other hand need between 7 and 8 hours of undisturbed sleep every night. Sleep is basically a natural medicine for every person. As stated ensure your bedroom is shielded from light at night, this will guarantee you a calm and peaceful night.
Ambien can also help you sleep better.