THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP TO OUR
Sleep, we all love it, especially when you wake up from a great night's
sleep. In the past, sleep was often ignored by doctors and surrounded
by myths, but now we are beginning to understand the importance of sleep
to overall health and well-being. In fact, when people get less than 6
or 7 hours of sleep each night, their risk for developing diseases
begins to increase.
1. Sleep Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Heart attacks and strokes are more common during the early morning
hours. This fact may be explained by the way sleep interacts with the
blood vessels. Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood
pressure and cholesterol, all risk factors for heart disease and
stroke. Your heart will be healthier if you get between 7 and 9 hours of
sleep each night.
2. Sleep May Prevent Cancer
working the late shift have a higher risk for breast and colon cancer.
Researchers believe this link is caused by differing levels of melatonin
in people who are exposed to light at night. Light exposure reduces the
level of melatonin, a hormone that both makes us sleepy and is thought
to protect against cancer. Melatonin appears to suppress the growth of
tumors. Be sure that your bedroom is dark to help your body produce the
melatonin it needs.
3. Sleep Reduces Stress
your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body's
functions are put on high alert which causes an increase in blood
pressure and a production of stress hormones. Higher blood pressure
increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes. The stress hormones
also, unfortunately, make it harder for you to sleep. Learn relaxation
techniques to counter the effects of stress. There are also stress
reduction techniques for sleep.
4. Sleep Reduces Inflammation
The increase in stress hormones raises the level of inflammation in
your body, also creating more risk for heart-related conditions, as well
as cancer and diabetes. Inflammation is thought to one of the causes of
the deterioration of your body as you age.
5. Sleep Makes You More Alert
Of course, a good night's sleep makes you feel energized and alert the
next day. Being engaged and active not only feels great, it increases
your chances for another good night's sleep. When you wake up feeling
refreshed, use that energy to get out into the daylight, do active
things, and be engaged in your world. You'll sleep better the next night
and increase your daily energy level.
6. Sleep Bolsters Your Memory
Researchers do not fully understand why we sleep and dream, but a
process called memory consolidation occurs during sleep. While your body
may be resting, your brain is busy processing your day, making
connections between events, sensory input, feelings and memories. Your
dreams and deep sleep are an important time for your brain to make
memories and links. Getting more quality sleep will help you remember
and process things better.
7. Sleep May Help You Lose Weight
Researchers have also found that people who sleep less than seven hours
per night are more likely to be overweight or obese. It is thought that
the lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones in the body that
affect appetite. The hormones ghrelin and leptin, important for the
regulation of appetite, have been found to be disrupted by lack of
sleep. So if you are interested in controlling or losing weight, don't
forget to pay attention to getting a good night's sleep.
8. Naps Make You Smarter
Napping during the day is not only an effective and refreshing
alternative to caffeine, it can also protect your health and make you
more productive. A study of 24,000 Greek adults showed that people who
napped several times a week had a lower risk for dying from heart
disease. People who nap at work have much lower levels of stress.
Napping also improves memory, cognitive function and mood.
9. Sleep May Reduce Your Risk for Depression
Sleep impacts many of the chemicals in your body, including serotonin.
People with a deficiency in serotonin are more likely to suffer from
depression. You can help to prevent depression by making sure you are
getting the right amount of sleep, between 7 and 9 hours each night.
10. Sleep Helps the Body Make Repairs
Sleep is a time for your body to repair damage caused by stress,
ultraviolet rays and other harmful exposures. Your cells produce more
protein while you are sleeping.