The importance of good sleep is crystal on everyone’s mind. You can go several days without food and still survive, but only a couple of sleepless days can result in death.
There is a reason why doctors recommend 7 to 8 hours of sleep and research studies now show that good sleep has many benefits.
Without adequate sleeping hours, you can be vulnerable to several ailments, diseases, and undesirable conditions.
Some of the adverse side effects of restrained sleep may be long term thus elusive and difficult to relate to the lack of sleep. This is why you need to pay more attention to the quality of your sleep.
Here are ten basic reasons why you need good sleep:
1. Sleep Is Good For Your Immune Function
Good sleep can help you improve immune functions and loss of only a few hours can impair the same. In one large two week study, subjects were given nasal drops containing the common cold virus and their development then monitored.
The results showed that those who received less than 7 hours of sleep were three times more susceptible to develop a common cold when compared to those who slept over 8 hours. You should consider sleeping longer if cold commonly attacks you.
2. Poor Sleep Will Make You Gain Weight
Sleep has an association with weight on two main fronts. Firstly, poor sleep causes obesity as well as weight gain. Those who sleep more also eat fewer calories compared to those deprived of sleep.
Research studies and surveys alike have connected few hours of sleep with obesity. In fact, those who sleep only a few hours are more likely to gain weight.
Poor sleep is said to increase ghrelin levels (a hormone that boosts appetite) and reduce leptin (appetite suppressing hormone). If you intend to keep a healthy weight, then you must increase the number of hours you spend sleeping.
3. Good Sleep Improves Concentration
Sleep impacts brain functions and activities such as cognition, concentration, focus, and productivity. Good sleep will improve all these functions while deprived sleep will negatively impact them.
In one research study, medical interns who followed the traditional schedule had made 36% serious errors than those who were allowed to sleep for more hours.
In another research study, sleep deprivation was shown to have brain damages similar to that of alcohol intoxication. In contrast, good sleep has been demonstrated over and over to improve productivity and problem-solving skills for both adults and kids.
4. Good Sleep Reduces The Risk Of Stroke And Heart Attack
The quality and duration of sleep are two vital aspects believed to impact various risk factors.
In fact, studies have shown that those who sleep 7-8 hours per day have a far lower risk of contracting stroke and cardiovascular disorders like heart disease.
Conversely, sleep deprivation is one of the reasons behind increased risk of these two cardiovascular diseases.
One common advice for those suffering from heart disease and massive attacks is to get more quality sleep hours. This is because sleep allows the body to focus on detox and elimination of oxidants and free radicals accumulated over the day.
5. Sleep Is Good For Athletic Performance
If you want to improve your athletic performance, lose weight, gain muscles, increase endurance or reach any given athletic goal, then you must ensure maximum quality sleep hours.
One study on basketball players and those who slept longer were seen to have better speed, accuracy, mental wellbeing and reaction times.
Sleep is like a rejuvenator that recharges your power and system. If the recharge is not complete, you will not have the sufficient power and motivation to perform better.
6. Good Sleep Will Keep You From Depressing
When faced with depression, doctors and therapists often question the quality and duration of sleep. This is because most mental conditions like stress and depression are reasons behind sleep disorders, particularly poor sleep quality.
Most patients suffering depression (90%) complain about the quality of sleep and doctors have also cited sleep deprivation as one of the leading causes of suicide deaths. Those suffering sleep disorders like apnea and insomnia also suffer depression.
7. Good Sleep Reduces Inflammation
Sleep loss can also cause digestive system inflammation especially in disorders such as inflammatory bowel syndrome.
Doctors have also noted that Cohn’s disease patients who don’t have a sufficient sleep are twice likely to relapse in comparison to those who sleep for more than those sleeping for up to 8 hours.
8. Good Sleep Improves Social Interactions And Emotions
Losing more sleep hours will also make you lose your ability to interact with others socially. Research studies conducted using facial expressions and recognitions tests indicated that those deprived of sufficient sleep had a critically low ability to recognize anger and happiness expressions.
Researchers concluded that lack of sleep could affect one’s ability to process emotions and understand social cues. On the other hand, good sleep promotes these functions and processes.
9. Sleep Affects Glucose Metabolism And Risk Of Diabetes Type 2
From experimental studies, reduced sleep is known to reduce insulin sensitivity and affect blood sugar.
In one study, healthy young men were restricted to 4 hours of sleeping for six days. When tested, they showed symptoms of pre-diabetes. These symptoms also faded away after one week of more sleeping hours.
Poor sleep impacts blood sugar in various negative ways and can cause a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
10. General Health And Wellness Benefits
Good sleep improves skin health, boosts mental focus and concentration and rejuvenates your body. You will be a better driver, productive employee, accomplished athlete, and fast learner.
It is also easy to deal with anxiety and control moods after good quality sleep. You will also be able to make good decisions, reduce visits to the doctor and achieve a healthier life.
Sleep is very hard to resist just like the need to eat, excrete and breathe. If you go a few days without sleep, you will pass out involuntarily, which shows just how essential it is.
Depriving yourself of sufficient sleep will finally take its toll on your health and result in various undesirable side effects. It is, therefore, recommendable to sleep at least 7 hours a day and make up for lost sleep with short daytime naps.