In our every day busy lives, many of us may not put much focus on how much sleep we get. Many people feel that they get enough sleep as long as they don’t feel tired the next day. The fact is, sleep is very important to our overall health and not getting enough sleep can have detrimental effects on our bodies.
Sometimes you may feel that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done that you need to finish. Many times, we may cut off a few hours of sleep just so that we have more time to get things done. Even though you may not feel the effects immediately, sleep deprivation can cause harm to your body down the road.
Research has shown that getting less than 8 hours of sleep a night can have detrimental effects on our overall health. Not getting enough sleep puts you at a higher risk of developing obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and a weakened immune system. When your immune system is weak, it can not fight off viruses and germs that you may come in contact with, which means that you may become sick more often.
Most people don’t realize that lack of sleep can be linked to obesity. Obesity isn’t just about eating too much junk food and not getting enough exercise, but research has shown that a person who gets less than 6 hours of sleep a night is more susceptible to develop obesity in the future compared to those who got at least 8 hours of sleep a night having a less chance of becoming obese.
Even infants who don’t get an adequate amount of sleep are more likely to become obese as they get older. Sleep can have a big impact on metabolism which works to turn carbohydrates and fats into energy while also decreasing our appetites. If your metabolism is not working at its best, fats and carbohydrates will stay in your body causing you to become overweight.
Researchers at the University of Chicago found that people who got enough sleep lost more fat, while those who did not get enough sleep lost more muscle mass instead of fat. Those who did not get the right amount of sleep also claimed to feel more hungry during the day time than if they had at least 8 hours of sleep.
Although not much research has been done on immunity, there have been studies showing that lack of sleep can have an impact on immunity levels while increasing the amount of inflammation causing mediators and infections. This means that lack of sleep may give you an increase in the chances of becoming sick or developing inflammatory problems.
Sleep can also affect your memory and how well you learn and retain new things. Some studies suggest that those who got a good night’s rest after learning something new were more likely to retain the information that they learned compared to those who did not get enough sleep.
When we think of better health, the first thing that comes to mind is typically eating a healthier diet and getting more exercise. Although these things are very important to maintaining optimal health, sleep is also important to having a healthier body and mind.
Our bodies require sleep to let the cells and tissues have time to recover from all of the work they did the day before. Muscle growth, tissue repair, and the synthesis of protein all occur while we are sleeping, making sleep even more important to our overall health.
Studies have also been done on people who suffer from insomnia or sleep apnea. When these people begun to get the correct amount of sleep, their blood pressure went down and any inflammation they had in their body also improved. This study proves that not getting enough sleep every night can have a profound effect on our health that we probably don’t even realize is caused by sleep deprivation.
Sleep can even make you become more creative! Boston College and Harvard University researchers claim that your brain may reorganize your thoughts while you are sleeping. When you get the proper amount of sleep each night, your creative process and imagination may become better. You also gain emotional stability when you get the proper amount of sleep. This means that you may become stressed less often and experience less anxiety. Lack of sleep can also contribute to depression and mood disorders.
Researchers at Stanford University completed a study on their football players. The athletes who got at least 10 hours of sleep a night had an increase in their sprint time along with improved stamina during the day time. Again, proving the benefits of a good night’s rest.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that fatigue was the cause behind many fatal car accidents in 2009. More people lost control of their vehicle due to being tired than being under the influence of alcohol. They also state that lack of sleep can be worse than getting behind the wheel after having a drink of alcohol when considering reaction times and making quick decisions. This means that not getting enough sleep could be a life and death situation in certain circumstances.
As you can see, getting the proper amount of sleep is extremely important to your overall health. It can improve your health and your immune system, along with aiding in weight loss. Apart from the health benefits, proper sleep can also help to improve your memory and your creative possibilities. The benefits of getting enough sleep far outweighs the negative effects of sleep deprivation.
Even when you feel as if you have too many things to do during the day and not enough hours, you should never sacrifice hours of sleep. You will feel better both physically and mentally when you get enough sleep every night. Don’t try to make up for lost sleep on the weekends when you have time. The brain and body does not work that way; you need the proper amount of sleep every single night to gain all of these benefits.
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Guest Post by: Jill MacFarlane
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