It’s amazing to stop and think that we spend approximately a third of our lives sleeping. With that said it’s clear that sleep is important to our bodies! Our bodies need sleep in order to function during waking hours. In spite of sleep being one of our basic daily needs, more than 60 percent of adults say their sleep needs are not being fully met.
Sleep is much like nutrition and physical activity, it is critical to our health. We need to sleep in order to stay alert, boost memory and can affect our brain and heart health. When we don’t get adequate amounts of sleep then we sacrifice in other areas of our life.
Ways That Sleep Influences Our Health
- Your Weight. Your body undoubtedly needs the energy to stay alert and to keep going. It seems to be clear that the longer you are awake then the hungrier you are likely to be in order to attain the necessary energy. Being sleep-deprived also alters the hormones in your brain that control your appetite.
- Improves Memory. While you are sleeping, your body may be resting, but your brain is active and processing your day, making connections between events, sensory input, feelings, and memories. Therefore, sleep is a very critical time for your brain to make memories and links, and getting more quality sleep will help you remember and process things better.
- Athletic Performance. Did you know that in addition to physical conditioning and proper eating habits, sleep plays a key role in athletic performance and competitive results? In short, less sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, decreases energy, decreases response time and can result in poor focus at game time. It may also slow recovery post-game, thus, the quality and amount of sleep athletes get is often the key to winning.
- The Brain. The bottom line is brain function is critical, and without adequate sleep, the brain simply can’t regenerate properly. The obvious signs that you may become aware of when getting less than 6 hours of sleep is you that you feel tired, forgetful, irritable, and just not your best. When considering the long term, it can be clear to others by affecting job performance, mood swings, depression, and you can quickly become the person that no one really enjoys to be around.
- Your Mood. Another thing that your brain does while you sleep is processing your emotions. Your brain needs this time of rest and recovery in order to recognize and react to things correctly. When you cut that short, you will find that tend to have more negative emotional reactions and fewer positive ones.
- Your Heart. While you are sleeping, your blood pressure decreases and it gives your heart and blood vessels a much-needed break. The more you reduce sleep time, the longer your blood pressure stays up during a 24-hour cycle. Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Clearly, getting the proper amount of sleep can have long-term payoffs.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Sleep requirements vary from person to person. How much sleep you need is dependant on your age, lifestyle, and overall health. While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens actually need even more.
Adequate sleep can easily make you feel better, but its importance goes far beyond just boosting your mood or reducing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and much more.
Most of us need around 7-9 hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly and while some may need more or less than that, sleep should not be considered a luxury, but rather a necessity for optimal functioning.
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