Needless to say that nothing can be more refreshing or rejuvenating than a good night’s sleep whereas a lack of adequate sleep makes us feel really terrible. We all experience these feelings every now and then. However, beyond the feeling of refreshment you get after a sound sleep, sleep also plays a pivotal role in your physical health and well being. For instance, during sleep, repair of major body organs such as the heart and blood vessels takes place. The implication of this is that sleep deprivation may increase your risk of cardiovascular conditions and jeopardize your overall health. In a nutshell, for optimal performance when you are awake, a sound night sleep is not negotiable.
Highlighted below are few amazing health benefits you will derive from a good sleep:
1. Less Risk of Chronic Medical Conditions
It has been discovered that sleep plays a crucial role in the healing and repair of the heart and blood vessels. Hence, prolonged sleep deprivation has been linked to increased risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disorders and stroke. This probably explains why some studies discovered that individuals who have a sleep routine of 7 – 8 hours of sleep everyday tend to live longer than their counterparts who sleep less than 6 hours.
2. Better Weight Control
It’s been observed that sleep deficiency raises the risk of obesity in all age groups. How? Sleep ensures a healthy balance of the hormone that stimulates appetite (ghrelin) and the hormone that makes you feel full (leptin). The consequence is that you tend to feel hungrier when not well-rested because ghrelin levels are high while leptin levels are low. No wonder prolonged sleep deprivation can easily set you up for obesity and type 2 diabetes. In the same vein, sleep deficiency results in elevated blood sugar levels.
3. Boosted Immunity
Good sleep helps to boost your immunity and shield you from some common infections. Researchers exposed some 150 people to a cold/flu virus having previously monitored their sleep habits for 2 weeks. It was discovered that those who slept for less than 7 hours a night were three times more likely to fall sick than people who got at least 8 hours of sound sleep every night.
4. Aids Learning and Good Memory
Three stages were discovered in memory formation and they are acquisition, consolidation and recall. Whereas the first and last stages can only be achieved in the wakeful state, consolidation of acquired memories mainly takes place during sleep. Hence, without good sleep, memories acquired during the day might not get stored correctly and are easily lost. Similarly, studies have also shown that good sleep enhances the learning process. Whatever it is you intend to learn, how to drive a car, how to solve math etc, it takes a sound sleep to succeed at it.
5. Promotes Normal Growth and Development in Children
Researches have shown that deep sleep is needed to trigger the body to release hormones that promote normal growth and development in children and teenagers. A sleep-deficient child may have problems getting along with others. He lacks motivation and has problems with paying attention and learning in school which in turn takes a heavy toll on his academic performance.
6. Better Sex Life
Significant evidence exists to show that poor sleep may lead to lower testosterone levels, a hormone which is responsible for libido or sexual drive in men. The National Sleep Foundation conducted a poll where about 26% of people claimed that their sex lives suffered because they were too tired from lack of sleep.
7. Less Pain
For individuals suffering from acute or chronic long-standing pain, getting a sound sleep can be of immense benefit. If the pain interferes with your sleep, you can readily get a sedative combined with an analgesic. Research has shown that getting a good sleep can actually complement pain medications. In the same vein, many studies have established links between poor sleep and low pain threshold. In other words, individuals who do not get enough sleep tend to have a very low tolerance for pain compared to those who are well-rested.
In conclusion, it is obvious that a sound sleep is a necessary requisite for your overall soundness. Hence, no matter how busy you get, always endeavor to sleep for a minimum of 6 to 8 hours at night.