A good night’s sleep is a great way to start your day on a positive note. Beyond helping you become more of a morning person, sleep plays a vital role in physical and mental health. “With stable, regular sleep time, people will definitely describe an improvement in focus, productivity, in job attendance and satisfied overall wellbeing and quality of life,” said Dr. Anjali Ahn, director of sleep clinical services at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the average adult should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, many Americans are falling short. To get a better night’s rest, Ahn recommends sticking to a regular sleep schedule and limiting screen time because sleeping well benefits the body in some amazing ways.
In addition to practicing daily habits that can help prevent sickness, getting enough sleep can help too. According to the National Sleep Foundation, during sleep, the immune system produces cytokines, a type of protein necessary for fighting infections. When there is not enough, it can leave bodies vulnerable to sickness and other diseases. A full night’s sleep, however, can help combat everything from a cold virus to the flu.
There are a lot of risk factors for diabetes including age, being overweight and family history. Sleep plays a part, too. With too little or too much sleep, it can increase the risk of diabetes. However, according to a study published in Diabetes Care, adults who get the recommended amount of sleep a night are associated with the lowest Type 2 diabetes risk.
Studies suggest that not getting enough sleep can make you grumpy and more prone to emotional outbursts, which can certainly hurt relationships. Starting the day on a good night’s sleep, however, can have the opposite effect. It not only helps you feel happier overall, but The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that getting enough sleep can also improve your mood and help you get along better with people.
When you’re foggy with fatigue, everything feels difficult, especially concentrating. That’s why your school teachers insisted that you rest up before a big test. It continues to be good advice. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can lessen your ability to focus and pay attention. The good news is that on a full night’s rest, you’re likely to perform better at school and make fewer mistakes at the office.
Cholesterol can be found in all the cells of your body and is used for various functions like making hormones and vitamin D. People also get cholesterol from certain foods. When there’s too much in your blood, however, it can build up and form plaque along artery walls, leading to health problems like coronary artery disease. Lack of sleep has been linked to increased cholesterol levels, making consistent sleep habits and rest essential to keeping it in check.
Life can be challenging, and everyone deals with stress. Being overloaded with stress can cause scary things to happen to your body like high blood pressure, diabetes and digestive problems, But getting enough sleep can help. According to the American Psychological Association, adults with lower stress levels reported sleeping more hours each night and had better sleep quality than those who slept less.
As part of your body’s healing system, inflammation isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it can help fight infection and injury. It can be harmful, however, when it’s in response to external factors like stress, inactivity and eating foods that are likely to cause inflammation. And as many sufferers know, chronic inflammation can be painful and life-changing. But along with diet and exercise, getting a good night’s sleep can be beneficial in helping reduce it.
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According to a review published by the American Physiological Society, there’s more than a decade of research behind the idea that memory is aided by getting enough sleep. In fact, sleep may actually be the time during which long-term memories are created and stored. It’s also been shown that people who sleep after learning a new skill are more likely to retain it and remember it over the long term.
A good night’s sleep does wonders for your exercise routine. When you aren’t getting enough sleep, it affects performance and energy levels and contributes to loss of muscle mass. A full night’s sleep is tied to improved workouts and athletic performance. A Stanford University study of swimmers found that when they got extended sleep, they not only felt better and improved their times, but in some cases, also exceeded their performance goals.
Lack of sleep can lead to a foggy brain, hindering not only productivity but also creativity. When you get as much sleep as your body needs, it allows you to think more clearly and operate at a higher level, especially at work. According to a white paper published by the Center for Creative Leadership, leaders that are well-rested function at their best, have better memories and stronger skills for making new and creative connections.
As mission control of the cardiovascular system, your heart needs a lot of TLC. Not only is it important to eat heart-healthy foods, but getting enough sleep is also one of the best things you can do for your heart. According to a study by the American Heart Association, the better night’s sleep you get, the healthier your heart will be. The average adult should get between six to eight hours a night, according to the study. More or less can have a negative effect.
People who suffer from sleep deprivation are at greater risk for depression, according to the National Sleep Foundation. In fact, people with insomnia have a 10-fold risk of developing depression compared to those who sleep well. While depression is a complex issue with many contributing factors, getting good quality sleep is a good place to start and can provide a mental health boost.
One of the basic rules of the road is not getting behind the wheel when you’re too tired to drive. Yet half of Americans report doing it and as a result, there are more than 100,000 drowsy driving crashes each year. Sleeping well can help prevent falling asleep at the wheel and can help keep you alert and focused on the road.
For the more than 78 million adults suffering from hypertension, staying active, keeping stress low and eating foods that don’t raise your blood pressure are key to managing it.
Healthy sleeping habits are also important. When you sleep, your blood pressure decreases by 10% to 20%, making a good night’s sleep essential. According to a study by the University of Arizona, a bad night’s sleep can cause blood pressure to spike, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
A study published by UC Berkeley found that people who are sleep-deprived are more likely to have junk food cravings and less discipline to resist giving in to them. Being well-rested can make it easier to say “no” to temptations like pizza and fast food. Insomnia and other sleep problems often lead to weight gain and these other things that happen when you don’t get enough sleep.
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