Sleep is one of the most important things for your health. Getting adequate rest can help reduce disease, improve athletic performance, and more. If you are interested in learning how to improve your sleep, check out Sleeping for Success, an article I wrote about the best ways to get better sleep. Today, I will be discussing the four most important benefits of sleeping enough.
Lower Chances of Physical Health Issues
Everybody knows sleep is good for you, but in what ways can sleep improve your health? Lack of sleep negatively affects obesity, heart problems, insulin management, growth, and safety. That is an extensive list, so I’ll break it down.
A lack of sleep increases rates of obesity. When you do not sleep enough, your body produces more of a hormone called ghrelin and less of a hormone called leptin. Ghrelin regulates your appetite, and leptin makes you feel satiated.
Inadequate sleep is associated with heart problems and insulin management issues. During sleep, your blood pressure and blood sugar levels lower. So, when you do not sleep enough, your blood pressure and blood sugar levels are higher during the day, increasing your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Finally, quality sleep increases growth, recovery, and development. Adequate deep sleep, especially in young children and teenagers, is vital for many growth factors like increasing muscle mass, regulating and beginning puberty, and cell repair.
Improved Athletic Performance
Injuries are detrimental to athletes! Research on teenagers shows that teens who sleep for less than eight hours each night are 60% more likely to get injured than teens who sleep for more than eight hours. Check out this article by The Sleep Foundation for more information on the effects of sleep deprivation on teenage athletes.
Better Mental Health
Mental health is something on everybody's mind lately (no pun intended). Deep sleep can play a vital role in improving your mental health. For example, around 75% of people with depression have sleep issues. In the past, sleep issues were considered a symptom of depression. Newer research has discovered that sleep worsens depression, and depression worsens sleep. Getting enough has also been linked to a reduced risk of committing suicide. To learn more, check out this article by The Sleep Foundation. If you need immediate mental health help, click here.
Better Memory and Improved Cognitive Performance
Improved cognitive performance and memory can go a long way in enhancing many areas of your life. Better test scores and reaction times are important examples. For example, when you have slept well, you are much less likely to get into a car crash. According to The Sleep Foundation, people who get six hours or less sleep are 33% more likely to get into a car crash than people who sleep seven or eight hours. They also say that lack of sleep is equivalent to or worse than the blood alcohol content of someone legally impaired.
In conclusion, sleep, specifically deep, is vital for many processes in our body, especially mental health, physical health, athletic performance, memory, and cognitive function. For most people, getting eight hours of sleep is enough to experience its benefits. Although, many people ideally need closer to nine hours of sleep. If you are interested in keeping track of your sleep, check out How to Maximize Your Health With a Fitness Tracker.