Importance of Sleep for Healthy Living

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Sleep is of utmost importance for a healthy life. Disrupted sleep is known to have cellular and subcellular effects on your overall health. It affects your metabolism, gene expression, and hormone health.

According to the CDC, about 1 in 3 adults don’t get adequate sleep. And between 10% – 30% of adults suffer from chronic insomnia. So, it’s crucial that you get your sleep schedule sorted.

10 reasons why sleep is important for health

1. Improves memory

Nobody really knows why you have dreams during sleep. However, it has been found that your sleep plays a vital role in boosting your memory. Your body may be resting while you’re asleep. But your brain processes the entire day and makes connections between the events of the day, feelings, sensory inputs, and memories. During deep sleep, your brain connects your memories and links new memories to old ones. Getting good quality sleep for 6-8 hours daily will help you improve your memory and process things better.

2. Boosts immunity

Lack of sleep impairs your immune functions. If you are prone to recurrent cold or cough, then it is probably due to lack of sleep. Ensure that you get at least good sleep daily to improve your immunity.

3. Reduces stress

Sleep deficit puts your body in a state of stress. It goes on high alert, and that can increase your blood pressure and stress hormones. This in turn makes it harder for you to fall asleep and you get stuck in the vicious cycle. Getting adequate sleep pushes you to stay calm and relaxed.

4. Maintains mental alertness

A good night’s sleep results in you feeling energized and ready to take on the next day. Being alert and active makes you feel great throughout the day. You are able to work more efficiently during the day.

5. Promotes growth & repair

Sleep is a down time when your brain gets to rest and your body gets to repair itself. Your body uses this time to focus on cell growth and repair. While you sleep, your pituitary gland produces growth hormone, required for your body’s growth and repair. Your body’s cortisol levels drop, allowing the sleep hormone melatonin to increase and boost the release of growth hormone.

6. Maintains healthy body weight

People who sleep for fewer hours tend to be more obese or overweight. This is because lack of sleep impacts your hormonal balance that affects your appetite. Especially the appetite regulating hormones – ghrelin and leptin. Hence, getting adequate sleep helps you maintain your healthy body weight. You can also maintain your ideal body weight by exercising on the elliptical or the treadmill in the evenings. Opt for the best seated elliptical here.

7. Promotes mental health

Sleep impacts various chemicals in your body, like serotonin. Serotonin is required for good mental health, and having lower levels of serotonin can result in depression.

8. Regulates blood sugar levels

Lack of sleep can reduce your body’s sensitivity to insulin and your body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels. Research shows that poor sleep increases your risk of developing diabetes.

9. Improves heart health

Heart health is affected by many factors, and sleep is one amongst them. Lack of sleep increases your blood pressure levels, cholesterol levels, and thereby increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

10. Enhances postural balance

Your body’s posture and balance is maintained by your eyes and ears. Inadequate sleep can affect your vigilance, information, integration, reasoning abilities, and motor control. This affects your postural balance and can result in falls and injuries. Focus on getting good sleep at night to improve your vision and posture.

Tips to get a good night’s sleep

1. Sleep schedule

Ensure that you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Focus on maintaining the routine.

2. Exercise

Move your body daily to make yourself tired. However, avoid exercising near bedtime. Exercise on an elliptical to get your daily movement in.

3. Go out

Get natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes daily to build your normal circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is your body’s natural cycle of physical, mental, and behavioral changes that affect the body throughout the 24 hours. It is mostly affected by light and darkness.

4. No naps

Avoid taking the mid-afternoon naps. If you do feel tired, keep your naps short or take a cat nap as they say.

5. Avoid stimulants

Any caffeine or nicotine can keep you awake at night. Refrain from drinking coffee during the second half of your day. Caffeine usually takes about 6-8 hours to get out of your system. Opt for a stim-free supplement if you are working out in the second half of the day.

6. No screen time

Avoid using the screen at least 1-2 hours before bedtime.

7. Sleep environment

Keep your room cool and dark to ensure good sleep. Do away with all sounds and light in your room. Keep your mobile phone on silent, preferably outside your bedroom.

8. Avoid alcohol before bedtime

Alcohol and large meals just before bedtime can disrupt your sleep.

Sleep tight, good night

Now that you know the importance of sleep for healthy living, focus on getting your night’s sleep every day.