Sleep plays an important role in good health and well–being throughout your life. Adults need around 8 hours sleep a night.
The way you feel while you’re awake is partly dependent on what happens while you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development. Ensuring that you get the right amount of high quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental and physical health, quality of life, and safety.
The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash), or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk of some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.
The benefits of a good night’s sleep:
1. Sleep boosts immunity
Your bed time can often be blamed if you find yourself catching the cold or flu on a regular basis. Prolonged lack of sleep can disrupt your immune system, making it harder for your body to fend off bugs.
2. Sleep can help you slim
Sleeping less can cause you to gain weight! Studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a day are 30% more likely to be obese than those who get nine hours or more of sleep.
It is believed that those who are sleep–deprived have reduced levels of leptin (the chemical that makes you feel full) and increased levels of ghrelin (the hunger–stimulating hormone).
3. Sleep improves mental well–being
A single sleepless night can often make you irritable and moody the following day, therefore chronic sleep debt may lead to long–term mood disorders including anxiety and depression.
A survey was carried out on people with anxiety or depression to calculate their sleeping habits. The results showed that on average most of them got less than six hours of sleep a night.
4. Sleep reduces the risk of diabetes
Various studies have suggested that individuals who usually get less than five hours of sleep a night have an increased risk of having or developing diabetes.
It appears that missing out on deep sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by altering the way the body processes glucose – the high–energy carbohydrate that the cells in your body use for fuel.
5. Sleep warns off heart disease
Long–standing sleep deprivation often appears to be associated with increased heart rate, an increase in blood pressure and higher levels of certain chemicals linked with inflammation, which may put extra strain on your heart.
6. Sleep increases fertility
Difficulty conceiving a baby has often been found to be one of the effects of sleep deprivation, in both men and women. Regular sleep disruptions can cause trouble conceiving by reducing the secretion of reproductive hormones in the body.