We all agree that sleep is important! Everyone tells us we should get sleep 7-8 hrs as an adult and much more as a teenager, but knowing is not the same as doing! Sleep might be the most important thing you do for your brain and body ALL DAY!
I hope that the facts you are about to read are compelling enough to motivate you to get more shut eye!
Sharper Brain Function
Have you found that when you are tired you have a harder time remembering things? That’s because sleep plays a big part in both learning and memory. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) is necessary to enhance our ability to retain emotional matters, helps the hippocampus turn short term memories into long term memories, and neurons to grow normally! Without enough sleep, it’s tough to focus and retain new information.
As mentioned, you also process emotions during sleep. Your mind needs this time in order to recognize and react the right way. When you cut that short, you tend to have more negative emotional reactions and fewer positive ones. Chronic lack of sleep can also raise the chance of having a mood disorder. One large study showed that when you have insomnia, you’re five times more likely to develop depression, and your odds of anxiety or panic disorders are even greater. There’s a saying for a reason that “everything’s better after a good night’s sleep.”
While you sleep, your blood pressure goes down, giving your heart and blood vessels a bit of a rest. For those of you with a smart watch, check out your data points — you could find that you get all the way down to 50 bpm! The less sleep you get, the longer your blood pressure stays up during a 24-hour cycle. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, including stroke.
Muscles repair at night and when pushed and not fully repaired you will see slower reaction times! Something that could be the difference between gold and not placing!
Professional athlete or not, proper rest sets you up for your best performance.
Steadier Blood Sugar
During the deep, slow-wave part of your sleep cycle, the amount of glucose in your blood drops. Diabetics and sugar addicts, pay attention! Not enough time in this deepest stage means you don’t get that very necessary break. Your body will have a harder time responding to your cells’ needs and blood sugar levels. Allow yourself to reach and remain in this deep sleep, and you’re less likely to get type 2 diabetes.
Have you ever been sleep deprived and then got sick? To help you ward off illnesses, your immune system identifies harmful bacteria and viruses in your body and destroys them. Ongoing lack of sleep changes the way your immune cells work. They may not attack as quickly, and you could get sick more often.
Have you ever wondered why weight gain and lack of sleep are correlated? Being sleep-deprived messes with the hormones in your brain — leptin and ghrelin — that control appetite. With those out of balance, your resistance to the temptation of unhealthy foods goes way down. And when you’re tired, you’re less likely to want to get up and move your body. Together, it’s a recipe for putting on pounds.
So if you are eating healthy and exercising regularly and not seeing a difference, are you sleeping?
Too Much of a Good Thing?
Sleep needs vary, but on average, regularly sleeping more than 9 hours a night may do more harm than good. Research found that people who slept longer had more calcium buildup in their heart arteries and less flexible leg arteries, too.
Your best bet is to shoot for 7-8 hours of quality slumber each night for peak health benefits.