Sleep is important. Sleep is an investment in your future health and well-being. The benefits of getting enough sleep are numerous. With proper sleep, your body will be regenerated, your mind will be clear, and your immune system will function optimally.
From improving your mood to aiding your cognitive performance, getting a good night’s rest is critical for maintaining all-around health. Learn more about the benefits of sleep and what happens when you don’t get enough!
1. Good sleepers may be more productive at work
You may be more productive at work if you sleep well during the night. This is because a good night’s sleep helps restore and repair your body, leading to better daily performance. However, sleep deprivation can also cause memory problems and make it harder for you to focus on tasks, which could make you less productive at work.
A lack of sleep can lead to anxiety or depression, so you must get enough rest every night if possible. You should aim for seven or eight hours of sleep each night. Still, everyone is different, and time availability may vary depending on the work you do. Napping during the day can compensate to some extent if it is difficult to find adequate time at night.
2. Sleep helps the body and brain restore
Adequate sleep at night helps your body and brain restore to their best.
Sleep is essential for physical restoration. When you’re asleep, your heart rate slows, blood pressure levels drop, and muscles relax. This allows blood flow to be directed away from your extremities. As a result, there is increased blood flow to the vital parts such brain, digestive and immune systems.
Good sleep helps restore mental energy too. While sleeping, your brain sorts through all the information it takes during the day, a process known as “brain rewiring“.
Also, waste materials such as amyloid are removed from the brain during sleep. Accumulation of amyloid causes Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
3. A good night’s sleep boosts your immune system
In addition to its essential role in repairing and maintaining your body, sleep also helps to boost your immune system. Sleep is when the body’s cells are better able to fight off infections, and a good night’s sleep can help you avoid illness.
A growing body of research suggests that sleep may directly impact your immune function. For example, people who slept less than six hours per night were more likely to develop colds than those who got at least seven hours of sleep. Also, chronic sleep deprivation increase cytokines such as IL-17 and CRP, increasing the disease risk.
In another study, researchers found that lymphocytes, white blood cells necessary for fighting infections, were less active when deprived of adequate rest.
All this evidence indicates that sleep helps our bodies defend against disease by boosting their ability to fight off infections.
4. Good sleep reduces heart disease and diabetes
Sleep is vital for the heart. It can help prevent heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
It’s also been found that people who don’t get enough sleep have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Repeated awakenings during the night, insufficient sleep, excessive sleep, and irregular sleep all promote glucose intolerance.
Sleep problem causes insulin resistance which is the cause of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition, poor sleep makes it difficult for blood glucose control in already-diagnosed diabetics.
5. Sleep deprivation can make you overeat and cause weight gain
Sleep deprivation can cause you to overeat, leading to weight gain. In addition, a study found that people with short sleep duration and poor sleep quality are associated with unhealthy eating habits. Sleep-deprived people tend to eat more. This phenomenon is known as “sleep-induced hyperphagia,” or an increased appetite after waking up from a period without sleep.
The researchers concluded that participants who got shorter sleep duration were more likely to eat fast food and sugar-laden snacks when compared with those who got eight hours or more.
6. Good sleep relieves stress and helps to relax
The link between stress and sleep is a well-established one. Stress can make it difficult to fall asleep, and poor sleep can contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety.
Several studies have shown that people who have trouble sleeping tend to be more prone to psychological distress than those who don’t.
How does this work? When you sleep, your brain recharges itself—the process restores energy levels, clears toxins from the body, improves memory function and reduces inflammation (among other things). All of these things add up to less stress for you!
7. Good sleep increases testosterone and boosts libido
Testosterone is a hormone that is produced in the testicles. The production of testosterone falls with a lack of sleep. Testosterone plays a role in sexual function and development, muscle mass, strength and bone density.
According to experts, getting between 7–8 hours of uninterrupted sleep daily is optimal for maintaining healthy levels of testosterone hormone.
The Bottom Line
Sleep research has demonstrated many positive effects on psychological and physical well-being. In short, sleep is a necessity, like food and water. Conversely, research has shown that the absence of sleep increases mental fatigue, errors and accidents, depressive symptoms, and weight gain, among other negative consequences.
Even after a simple 20-minute nap, your brain will perform differently. Moreover, all of these benefits point toward a great life overall. So be sure to get as much of that sweet sleep as possible!