Why is sleep essential for your health?

Sleep is a necessity in each and everyone’s life.
Getting enough sleep is essential for everyone. Without enough sleep, it becomes difficult for anyone to perform whatever they are doing to the best of their ability. Regardless of your age, profession or where you live, sleep can ultimately determine the condition of your physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your body and it has many negative health effects.

How bad is sleep deprivation?

Being sleep deprived can not only have many short-term effects, but it will also affect you in the long-term if you consistently fail to get enough sleep. The short-term effects of sleep deprivation include fatigue, irritability, frequent mood swings, difficulty in focusing and loss of memory. All of these symptoms demonstrate how costly sleep deprivation can be to your mental and physical status. However, there are even more health effects that sleep deprivation can have on your body. These effects include:

  • Weakened immune system
    • With the lack of sleep, a person has more exposure to infections and various respiratory diseases. This means that the lack of sleep will make you more susceptible to health conditions.
  • Weight changes 
    • Sleep deprivation will affect your hormones which control your feelings of hunger and motivation. This may cause you to overeat and lose motivation for day-to-day tasks. This will also increase your vulnerability to frequent changes in body weight, as well as a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. 
  • Weakened cardiovascular system
    • When you get the required amount of sleep, it assists the healing of your heart vessels, allowing your body to maintain blood pressure, sugar levels and inflammation control. However, without enough sleep, your risk of cardiovascular disease increases.
  • Altered hormone levels
    • With less sleep, your hormone production will be hindered. This includes a decline in the production of growth hormones and testosterone. As a result, your body will release stress hormones and your energy levels will drop.
  • Brain effects 
    • When sleep-deprived, your prefrontal cortex and the amygdala will be affected. These parts of the brain are linked to reasoning and emotion respectively. Your brain will also have a difficult time creating memories, which can hinder your ability to learn.
  • Fertility 
    • Poor sleep can also lower the production of hormones that boost fertility.
There are no benefits to your body when you lose sleep. This is why you must get enough sleep to avoid sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation can have many long-term effects such as unexpected weight changes.

How can getting enough sleep benefit you?

There are a variety of benefits that getting enough sleep can have on your body. These benefits include:
  • Stronger brain activity
    • By getting enough sleep, your brain will allow you to learn and memorize information more easily. Your awareness will increase and it allows your brain to store more memories for future reference.
  • Mood Boost
    • While you sleep, your brain processes your emotions. This allows your mind to react to certain situations accordingly. However, without enough sleep, you will tend to react more negatively to certain situations.
    • This may seem like a minor issue, however, it will increase the chances of you developing a mood disorder. One study indicates that people with insomnia are five times more likely to become depressed, increasing the odds of anxiety and panic disorders. This indicates that getting enough sleep is key to avoid the likelihood of developing mood disorders.
  • Better heart activity
    • When you sleep, your heart and blood vessels can get the rest that they need. Your blood pressure will lower with sufficient sleep, lowering the possibility of heart diseases such as a stroke.
  • More energy for athletics
    • If you frequently do any type of endurance sports such as running and biking, sleeping will provide your body with the time that it needs to recover and rebuild your body. If you take part in other activities such as weightlifting, sleep is essential to repair your muscles after a workout.
  • Steadier Blood Sugar
    • By getting enough sleep, your body will maintain and rebuild its glucose levels. This will maintain your body’s response time to cell needs and blood sugar levels.
  • Illness Prevention
    • To counter illnesses, your immune system can identify and dissolve the harmful viruses and bacteria in your body. However, without enough sleep your immune system will not be able to fight off viruses as quickly, causing you to become more susceptible to illnesses.
  • Better control over your weight
    • By getting enough sleep, you will not get as hungry as often. As a result, your appetite will balance out, lowering your temptation towards unhealthy foods. On top of this, your motivation to be more physically active will increase.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for brain activity, energy and prevention of illnesses.
While getting enough sleep is important, getting too much sleep should be avoided. For example, if you get over 9 hours of sleep, it could affect your heart arteries while lowering the flexibility of your leg arteries. It is best to get 7-8 hours of sleep to obtain all of the health benefits that it can provide for you.

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