Health Benefits of Sleep

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There was a time sleep was often ignored by medical practitioners mostly because of the myths surrounding it. However, with time, people began to understand the need to get enough rest, and how it contributes their general health and well being. We have come to understand for instance, that when people get less than the daily required hours of sleep each night, they are exposed to a lot of developing diseases.

This fact alone alongside 10 other reasons should spur you to always call it an early night

Health benefits of getting enough sleep

Sleep Keeps Your Heart Healthy

Studies have found that heart attacks and strokes are more likely to occur in the hours of the morning, and this may be as a result of the way sleep interacts with the blood vessels. Lack of sleep has also been linked with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, which as you probably know, are risk factors of heart disease and stroke. When you get your 7 to 9 hours required sleep every night, your heart will get healthier.

Sleep May Help Prevent Cancer

People who work the late night shifts are more prone to developing breast and colon cancer than people who don’t. Studies show that light exposure reduces your melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone in your body that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. It is thought to protect against cancer as it appears to suppress the growth of tumors. Make sure to sleep in a dark room and avoid using electronics before going to bed in order to help your body produce the right amount of melatonin it needs.

Sleep Reduces Stress

When your body is deprived of sleep, it goes into a stressful state. When this happens, your body functions are put on high alert, and this result in high blood pressure and the production of stress hormones. High blood pressure in turn, increases your risk for heart attack and stroke, and the stress hormones make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. You will also need to learn some relaxation techniques that will counteract the effects of stress, and help you fall asleep faster.

Sleep Reduces Inflammation

When your stress hormones are multiplied by lack of sleep, the level of inflammation in your body is greatly increased. This increase exposes you to a greater risk for cancer, diabetes and other heart related conditions. Inflammation can also cause the body to deteriorate rapidly as we age.

Sleep Makes You More Alert

Have you noticed that most times when you sleep for a long time, you wake up feeling really energized and alert? A good night’s rest is the antidote. When you are being engaged and alert, you don’t just feel great, but your chances of getting another good night rest is increased. If you wake up feeling energized and refreshed, use that energy to do things actively, and also engage with your world. You will notice how better you’ll sleep the next night, thereby increasing your daily energy levels.

Sleep Improves Your Memory

There have not been answers to questions on why we dream when se sleep, but one thing we know is that sleep plays a very major role in a process known as memory consolidation. When you are asleep, your brain stays busy taking cognizance of events that happened during the day, trying to make connections between events, sensory input, feelings and memories. Deep sleep is very important for your brain to make memories and links, and getting enough sleep can improve your memory rapidly and also help you process things better

Sleep May Help You Lose Weight

Studies have found that people who sleep fewer than 7 hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese. It is thought that a lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones in the body that affect appetite. The hormones ghrelin and leptin, which regulate appetite, have been found to be disrupted by lack of sleep. If you want to maintain or lose weight, don’t forget that getting adequate sleep on a regular basis is a huge part of the equation.

Napping Makes You Smarter

Napping is not for the night. As an alternative to caffeine consumption, napping during the day keeps you refreshed, makes you more productive and to crown it all, it is good for your overall wellbeing.  A study of 24,000 Greek adults showed that people who napped several times a week had a lower risk of dying from heart disease. People who nap at work show much lower levels of stress. Napping also improves memory, cognitive function, and mood.

Sleep May Reduce Your Risk of Depression

Sleep impacts serotonin in your body. People with a case of serotonin deficiency are more susceptible to depression. This can be highly prevented by making sure you are getting just the right amount of sleep. At least 7 to 9 hours every night.

Sleep Helps the Body Repair Itself

Asides from the relaxation that comes from sleeping, your body is always hard at work repairing damages caused by stress, ultraviolet rays and other harmful exposure while you are asleep. Your cells also produce more protein while you are asleep. The protein molecules form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair the damage.

Good Sleepers Tend to Eat Fewer Calories

Studies have shown that people who are not getting enough sleep tend to have a bigger appetite and consume more calories. Sleep deprivation disrupts the fluctuations that daily occur in your appetite hormones and this can cause poor appetite regulation. This includes higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating appetite, and reduced level of leptin, the hormone responsible for suppressing appetite.

Sleep Affects Emotions and Social Interactions

When you are sleep deprived, your ability to relate and interact socially is drastically reduced. There are a thousand scientific studies backing this up. One study found that people who were sleep deprived had reduced ability to recognize expressions of anger and happiness.

Researchers also believe that poor sleep affects your ability to recognize important social cues and process emotional information.

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