Why sleep is essential to Your Body
Many assume that sleep is a moment when the body and mind shut down. However, sleep is an active moment where a lot of strengthening and restoration happens. How this happens and why it takes so many hours remains a mystery to everyone, including the experts. What is not in doubt is the crucial role that sleep plays in the overall health of the body.
How much sleep do we need?
Sleep is vital for the development of organs and memory retention. The extra hours and deep sleep that children experience could likely be the reason for their quick learning skills such as motor skills and language. Adults require 7-9 hours of sleep, whereas teenagers need 8-10 hours. Children, on the other hand, require a lot more sleep with one-year-old needing approximately 11-14 hours and school-age children need 9-11 hours of sleep. Younger people require more hours and deeper sleep for optimal development since their ages are a significant moment of growth and learning.
Experts highly recommend a routine that earns you at least 7 hours of sleep every day. You cannot experience sleep deprivation and then sleep later to make up for it when you get the chance. Many adults do this by trying to log in extra hours of sleep on a Sunday morning. Repaying sleep debt is not a choice since your body will demand repayment of that debt at some point. Experts advise that sleep should be a habit that is routine and reliable irrespective of our age, to stay fit to face life’s challenges every day.
Here are ten reasons why sleep is essential.
1. People who sleep well eat fewer calories.
Studies have shown that people who do not get enough sleep tend to eat more, thereby increasing their calorie intake. Sleep deprivation interferes with the fluctuations of appetite hormones and is one of the causes of poor appetite regulation. This involves more production of ghrelin, the hormone for stimulation of appetite and less production of leptin, the hormone for suppression of appetite
2. Sleep Deprivation can lead to obesity and weight gain
Poor sleep is one of the leading causes of weight gain. Those with sleep deprivation tend to weigh more than those who earn a good night sleep, and one of the main risk factors to obesity is sleep deprivation. In one extensive study, adults and children who regularly had sleep deprivation were 55% and 89% more likely to develop obesity, respectively.
3. Poor sleeping habits can cause Stroke and Heart Disease
Sleep duration and quality are essential for body organs. Poor quality sleep or sleep deprivation puts your health at risk. Sleep deprivation is a leading cause of chronic heart disease. Studies have shown that poor quality sleep puts you at higher risk of developing a stroke and heart disease than those who earn 7-8 hours of sleep daily.
4. Enough sleep leads to better athletic performance
Enough sleep enhances athletic performance. A study carried out among basketball players showed that players accuracy, mental well-being, speed and reaction times improved significantly as a consequence of enough sleep. Poor sleep has been associated with functional limitation and reduced exercise performance among older women. A study performed among 2,800 women established that lower grip strength, slower walking and difficulty in performing certain activities were attributed to deprived sleep.
5. Good sleep improves productivity
Sleep is directly associated with brain function through concentration, performance, productivity and cognition. Sleep deprivation can negatively affect these functions. A study that involved medical interned showed that interns who worked for more than 24 hours without sleep made 36% more errors than their counterparts who had a schedule of 8 hours of sleep. Another independent study established that lack of sleep has similar negative impacts on the brain as alcohol intoxication.
On the other hand, there is growing evidence that people who get enough sleep have better-enhanced memory performance and problem-solving skills than those who are sleep deprived.
6. Sleeping disorders can cause depression.
Mental health problems can be directly linked to poor sleeping habits. Approximately 90% of people with depression have poor sleep quality. Mental illness and poor sleep quality can lead to suicide in extreme cases. Sleeping disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia are known to be a leading cause of depression, and improved sleep quality is recommended for those who have a mental illness.
- Poor sleep quality can be linked to inflammation.
Poor sleep has, for long been linked to inflammation in the digestive tract, commonly known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Poor sleep is known to activate cell damage and undesirable markers of inflammation. Studies have shown that patients of Crohn’s disease who had poor sleep quality were twice as likely to relapse as patients who enjoyed good sleep quality. Medical experts now recommend sleep evaluation in trying to predict outcomes in patients with inflammatory problems.
8. Sleep affects immune function.
Small alterations in sleeping patterns affect the immune system. One study evaluated the development of the common cold after prescribing nasal drops to people those with the virus. The study found that those who slept for less than 7 hours a day were three times more likely to develop a cold than their counterparts who had 8 hours of sleep. If you often get colds, ensure to get at least 8 hours of sleep every day. Eating garlic has also been known to help as well.
9. Sleep affects social interactions and emotions
The effect of sleep on social interactions was studied using emotional facial recognition tests. The studies established that those who were sleep-deprived had difficulty recognizing expressions of happiness or anger. This means, for people who are sleep deprived have trouble processing emotional information and critical social cues.
10. Sleep affects glucose levels and types of two diabetes.
Experiments that caused sleep deprivation among test subjects showed reduced levels of insulin sensitivity and blood sugar—restricting sleeping hours among men to 4 hours rather than the recommended 8 hours for six days continuously caused symptoms of pre-diabetes. The symptoms ended after another week of good sleep. Therefore, sleep quality affects sugar and glucose levels
It is crucial to get good sleep quality of at least 7 hours a day. The body regenerates cells and enhances memory retention for increased benefits to the overall health of our bodies. Sleep deprivation has adverse effects on the body and can cause underlying health conditions to worsen.
It is therefore advisable to ensure you get good quality sleep.
by Debra Dunham