Benefits of Quality Sleep
Author: Eric Leider, CSCS
I’m not the best when it comes to getting my 7–8 hours of sleep each night, but it is definitely something I plan to get better at. Whether it is work or spending more time awake with family/friends, it’s a truth that sometimes we do not give our body the sleep it needs to perform at it’s peak.
Below are some points that may shift your perspective & help you value quality sleep even more:
- Quality sleep helps with proper brain functioning. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day by forming new pathways to help you learn and remember new information.
- Studies have shown that a good night’s sleep really does improve learning. Whether you’re learning a new language, how to play an instrument, how to perfect a complex exercise, or how to drive a car, quality sleep helps elevate your learning and problem-solving skills. More high quality sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.
- Quality sleep plays a vital role in your physical health. For example, sleep is significantly involved in the healing and repairing of your heart & blood vessels. Long-term sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
- Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity. For example, a study of teenagers showed that with each hour of sleep lost, the odds of becoming obese shot up. The findings from this study also correlate with other age groups as well.
- Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than you actually are.
- Sleep also affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes.
- Sleep also supports healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults.
- Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. This system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections.
We hope that some of these points make you think more about your current sleep patterns. Treat your body right by prioritizing sleep!