The Importance of Sleep For Good Health

You probably haven’t given much thought to the importance of sleep when it comes to your health. But, getting the proper amount of sleep each day is important for your physical and mental health as well as for improving your quality of life. The amount of sleep you need will change over time and is based on your age.

Benefits of Getting Enough Rest

When you sleep, your body’s processes, such as blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and body temperature, decrease. It is a time when your body conserves energy. The brain, however, retains its normal function. Different processes are carried out through the different stages of sleep which are:

  • Stages 1 and 2 – Light Sleep
  • Stages 3 and 4 – Deep Sleep
  • Stage 5 – Rapid Eye Movement (REM)

Your physical health is greatly affected by the amount of sleep you get each day. The following processes are directly affected by sleep:

  • Metabolism
  • Immune System Function
  • Brain Function and Memory
  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Tissue Repair and Growth
  • Appetite Regulation and Blood Glucose Control

If you fail to get the recommended amount of sleep, these processes are unable to be completed and you could possibly suffer long-term health problems as a result.

Negative Results From Lack of Sleep

In the fast-paced world in which we live, it can be difficult to get the amount of sleep we actually need. You likely get up early in the morning, work all day, come home and take care of your family and get to bed hours later. You may find that your mind races and it’s hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. But, you must get two consecutive nights of sleep to restore balance in your bodily processes. If you aren’t getting enough sleep you may suffer the following negative consequences:

  • General fatigue during your waking hours
  • Headaches
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Increased risk of substance abuse
  • Chronic health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease
  • Increased risk of having a car accident
  • Decreased productivity at work
  • Suffering relationships
  • Decreased sex drive

Studies have shown that teenagers who suffer from a lack of sleep tend to partake in risky behaviors and have an increased risk of becoming suicidal.

How To Improve Your Sleep

If you tend to be a night owl or have difficulty sleeping, the following tips may help you get the amount of rest you need to protect your health and well-being:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
  • Keep the same sleep schedule on weekends and days off work or school
  • Avoid vigorous activity an hour before bed and keep things quiet
  • Avoid eating before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine, both of which can interfere with your ability to sleep
  • Make time to get fresh air each day and stay active
  • Keep your bedroom cool and dark
  • Take a hot bath or shower right before you go to bed to relax
  • Avoid naps during the day

The importance of getting enough sleep cannot be overstated. Not only does your physical health depend on it, but your mental health is also greatly affected by the amount of sleep you get each day. You may even notice that some people are cranky if they’ve not gotten enough sleep. There are many negative consequences so it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Getting into a routine will help you be able to fall asleep and stay asleep for the required amount of time. Give your mind and body a chance to heal and your systems to reset by ensuring you are getting enough rest each day.