The Importance of Sleep for Your Overall Health

Updated on June 28, 2021

Are you having trouble getting enough sleep? Are you wondering why sleep is important to your overall health?

Stress, anxiety, and depression can all cause you to lose ample amounts of sleep. You may think this is a minor annoyance that will only affect your mood and appearance. Yet the importance of sleep to your well-being is nothing to overlook.

Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of sleep.

1. Healthy Weight

Some research suggests that not getting enough sleep can contribute to weight gain. This connection could be due to a change in your hormones or a lack of motivation to exercise.

Maintaining a healthy risk can lower your risk of many different kinds of cancers, as well as your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. If you’re looking to maintain a healthy weight, getting at least seven hours of sleep each night can help you. You’ll also want to control your portion sizes and get as much exercise as possible.

2. Improving Your Concentration

Getting enough sleep can actually help to improve your brain function and cognition. It’s also a great way to increase your productivity throughout the day. 

Sleep actually plays a role in memory consolidation, which is important when you’re learning new information. It can also help to improve your focus. 

If you need your brain to be at its sharpest when you’re at work or school, it’s critical to get the right amount of sleep every night.

Believe it or not, the exact amount you’ll need will vary depending on your age. Most adults ages 18-60 will need at least seven hours of sleep each night in order to function optimally. 

Teens, however, will require between 8-10 hours in order to feel rested, and adults ages 61-64 need 7-9 hours. After age 64, you’ll go back to needing between seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

3. Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

Those who aren’t getting adequate sleep each night are more likely to experience a heart attack or stroke. It can also drive up your risk of heart disease. It’s thought that getting enough rest each night can allow your body’s blood pressure to regulate itself.

4. Preventing Depression

Getting enough sleep is also critical to keeping you from getting depressed. 

Not sleeping well can throw off your brain chemistry and make it more difficult to manage your feelings. It can also cause bigger mood swings and make it more difficult for you to accomplish things. 

Depression can also cause a lack of sleep, so they often work together to cause a downward cycle. If you’re serious about staying in a good place mentally, it’s critical to get enough sleep each night.

5. Better Athletic Performance

Believe it or not, sleep is critical to maintaining optimal athletic performance. It can give your heart a chance to rest and your cells and tissues the opportunity to repair themselves. Sleep can also improve your immune system, so illness will be less likely to stop your exercise routine.

In addition, sleep can help athletes remember new skills better. It’s also important for maintaining an optimal mood and attitude during training.

6. Boost Your Immune System

If you tend to get sick a lot, it may be time to take a look at your sleep patterns. While you sleep, your body releases proteins known as cytokines, which can help you to combat illness. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body may decrease the production of these and you could be more likely to become sick.

Sleep can also improve your body’s production of T-cells, which can help fight pathogens. If you want your body to be in the best possible position to ward off potential diseases, it’s imperative to get enough sleep each night.

How to Get Enough Sleep

Many folks would like to get more sleep, but they find it can be a struggle. Doctors recommend a regular sleep pattern in which you sleep and wake at consistent times. Long daytime naps can interfere with your natural rhythm.

It also helps to have a relaxing nighttime routine that signals to your body that it’s time to go to bed. This may involve taking a hot bath, reading a book, or listening to relaxing music. 

It’s important, however, to avoid exposure to blue light about an hour before you go to bed. This is the light that comes from electronic devices such as smartphones and computers. These can trick your body into believing that it’s still daytime and reduce your production of sleep-inducing hormones such as melatonin.

It’s also important to avoid caffeine later in the day if you want to sleep well. Believe it or not, the chemical can stay elevated in your blood for up to 6 to 8 hours after you consume it. It stimulates your nervous system and keeps you from relaxing at night.

If you want to get the best possible sleep, avoid having caffeine after 3 or 4 in the afternoon. To really play it safe, switch to decaf after lunchtime.

Some folks also find it helpful to take a melatonin supplement before bed. These let your body know that it’s time to relax. If you’re really struggling to sleep, be on the lookout for sleep vitamin gummies that work.

The Importance of Sleep

When it comes to optimal health, brain function, and mood, the importance of sleep can’t be understated. Once you’ve developed a healthy sleep pattern, your day-to-day living will greatly improve.

Don’t stop getting smart about your health and lifestyle now. For more great advice, read our blog today.

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