Good sleep is as important as a good meal or a good exercise program in keeping one healthy, rejuvenated, and healthy. On average, people spend at least one-third of their lives sleeping, which has biomedical and neurological benefits to the body.
Sleep allows the body and mind to recharge, allowing one to wake up refreshed and more focused. A good night's sleep also keeps the body healthy and disease-free. Without sleep, the brain cannot function properly. This can impair your ability to concentrate, think clearly, and remember. Adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Children and teenagers, especially those under five, require more sleep. Sleep can be disrupted by work schedules, daily worries, a noisy bedroom, and physical concerns. On the other hand, a persistent absence of sleep may be the first sign of a sleep disorder.
Health Benefits Of Sleep
Sleep offers several benefits to the body, and this article discusses some of the benefits. These include:
Boosts The Body's Immunity
Sleep aids the body's ability to repair, regenerate, and recover. This relationship extends to the immune system as well. According to Besedovsky et al. (2019), getting more sleep can help the body fight infection. The immune system detects and destroys harmful bacteria and viruses in your body to help you avoid illness. A chronic lack of sleep alters the function of the immune cells. They may not attack as quickly, and one may become ill more frequently. When your body gets enough sleep, your immune cells and proteins have enough rest to fight whatever comes their way, such as colds or the flu. And according to Lange et al. (2011), proper sleep can also make vaccines more effective. A good night's sleep can help avoid feeling tired and worn out and spending days in bed as the body tries to recover. However, more research into the precise mechanisms of sleep and its impact on the body's immune system is required.
Sleep Can Increase Productivity
Several individuals believe that one night without sleep would not affect them, but delaying a decent night's sleep could negatively impact work or school. van Dijk et al. (2020) noted that sleep has been linked to increased concentration and cognitive performance, which can help one succeed at work. However, one sleepless night can leave a person feeling stressed, increasing their chances of making mistakes that a cup of coffee won't be able to remedy. The exhausted one is more likely to grab a cup in the afternoon in terms of coffee. While this may solve an afternoon crash problem, the extra coffee late in the day may set one up for another sleepless night. It isn’t easy to focus and absorb new knowledge when you don't get enough sleep. In addition, the brain does not have enough time to store memories so that one can access them later correctly. Sleep allows the brain to catch up, so one is ready for whatever comes next.
Improves Memory And Cognitive Function
Smith& Key (1917) discovered that when one is sleep-deprived, they are likely to have difficulty retaining and recalling things. This is because sleep plays an important role in both learning and memory. Paller& Voss (2004) indicated that the brain is still active even while sleeping. It’s analyzing and consolidating your day's recollections. Memory loss may occur if one does not receive enough sleep. Worse, the mind may fabricate false memories. Sleep allows the brain to consolidate and make sense of the day's experiences.
Furthermore, it enables the brain to discard some memories and form previously underused connections. Alhola& Polo-Kantola (2007) reported on the consequences of sleep deprivation and concluded that sleep is linked to various brain processes, including concentration, productivity, and cognition. Faught et al. (2017) discovered that children's sleep patterns directly impact their conduct and academic achievement.
Can Increase Exercise Performance
It is easy to assume that sleep deprivation may not affect one as much if their sport involves fast spurts of energy, such as wrestling or weightlifting, as it does in endurance sports such as running, swimming, and biking. However, sleep deprivation may decrease one’s sports performance. Mah et al. (2011) investigated the effects of sleep deprivation on basketball players and revealed that the amount of sleep affected their performance. When they didn't get enough sleep, their performance suffered significantly. As Mah et al. (2011) indicated, Sleep impacts exercise performance. Hand-eye coordination, response time, and muscular recovery are aided by under-the-covers healing. Lack of sleep depletes your energy and time for muscle regeneration, but it also depletes one’s motivation, which propels one to the finish line. One faces a more difficult mental and physical challenge and slower reaction times. Athletes need sleep just as much as they need calories and nutrients. One reason for this necessity is that the body heals when sleeping. Other advantages include increased performance intensity, increased energy, improved coordination, faster speed, and improved mental functioning. Proper rest prepares you for peak performance.
Sleep Can Help Prevent Weight Gain
Sleeping for eight hours a night will not result in weight gain, but it will help your body prevent gaining weight. Kim et al. (2015) noted that sleep deprivation disrupts the hormones in the brain that control hunger, leptin, and ghrelin. When one doesn’t get enough sleep, the body creates ghrelin, a hunger-stimulating hormone, as you require more energy to carry on throughout the night. The body also produces less leptin, a hormone that signals you when one is full. When these two hormones are out of balance, one’s resistance to the temptation of unhealthy foods is much reduced as there are increased stress levels. When one is tired, they are less inclined to want to get up and move. When combined, it's a recipe for gaining weight.
Sleep is important as any other part of our lifestyle, and negligence can negatively impact our health. Sleep offers numerous benefits such as improved cognitive functions, better heart health, improved calorie regulation by the body, increased productivity, and better mood. For adults, eight hours of rest is enough for the body to recover from the day, whereas for individuals with intense days, more sleep may be needed to recover fully.
Alhola, P., & Polo-Kantola, P. (2007). Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment.
Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Haack, M. (2019). The sleep-immune crosstalk in health and disease. Physiological reviews.
Faught, E. L., Ekwaru, J. P., Gleddie, D., Storey, K. E., Asbridge, M., & Veugelers, P. J. (2017). The combined impact of diet, physical activity, sleep and screen time on academic achievement: a prospective study of elementary school students in Nova Scotia, Canada. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14(1), 1-13.
Kim, T. W., Jeong, J. H., & Hong, S. C. (2015). The impact of sleep and circadian disturbance on hormones and metabolism. International journal of endocrinology, 2015.
Lange, T., Dimitrov, S., Bollinger, T., Diekelmann, S., & Born, J. (2011). Sleep after vaccination boosts immunological memory. The Journal of Immunology, 187(1), 283-290.
Mah, C. D., Mah, K. E., Kezirian, E. J., & Dement, W. C. (2011). The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players. Sleep, 34(7), 943-950.
Paller, K. A., & Voss, J. L. (2004). Memory reactivation and consolidation during sleep. Learning & Memory, 11(6), 664-670.
Smith, J., & Key, F. (1917). The star-spangled banner.(Written September 1814) Harmonized by Clarence Dickinson.[Text by] Francis Scott Key.
van Dijk, D. M., van Rhenen, W., Murre, J. M., & Verwijk, E. (2020). Cognitive functioning, sleep quality, and work performance in non-clinical burnout: the role of working memory. PloS one, 15(4), e0231906.
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