What you need to know:
- The longer you go without sleep, the harder it becomes for blood to circulate.
- A lack of sleep can cause mental illnesses like stress, anxiety, and depression.
- It is important to have a favourable sleeping environment such as a darkroom (or blackout curtains/blinds) and cool temperature, etc.
Although sleep is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle, many do not take this fact seriously.
Good quality sleep is not only important for happier days but also helps prevent severe medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
The recommended hours of sleep
These vary depending on the age group, but the general rule of thumb is that most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to feel well-rested. This applies more to children and older adults whose bodies require extra rest in order to function properly throughout the day.
What are the benefits?
Improved heart function
Sleep helps regulate your heart’s rhythm. The longer you go without sleep, the harder it becomes for blood to circulate. In addition, your body has a natural 24-hour cycle called homeostasis that regulates everything from your breathing rates to digestion.
Once something is not working properly in your body, it is said to be dysfunctional or less than optimal functioning. You can improve circulation by getting enough sleep so that your immune system remains strong during waking hours. At the same time, you protect against cardiovascular disease and other health conditions like diabetes and obesity.
Improved mental health
A lack of sleep can cause mental illnesses like stress, anxiety, and depression. This is because when you do not get enough rest, neurotransmitters in the brain become imbalanced, resulting in negative feelings.
A lack of sleep can worsen existing conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder by altering important neurochemicals that keep your mood balanced. It will also increase your risk of developing other problems like high levels of stress, which often come hand in hand with poor sleeping habits.
Improved memory and learning skills
This is achieved through the process of converting short-term memories to long-term ones during restful periods of slumber. Sleep causes reactivation of hippocampal neurons, which then activate their corresponding distributed memory records in the cortex.
This repeated process allows memories to become consolidated throughout cortical networks so that one can remember and recall them more easily when awake.
Getting more hours of sleep also has a positive effect on overall brain health, which can help you focus better on work or school.
Maintain healthy weight levels by stabilising blood sugar
When you do not get enough sleep at night, your body releases more insulin which causes increased hunger while decreasing the amount of leptin that alerts the body when to stop eating. This hormonal imbalance leads your body into a state known as ‘metabolic chaos’ in which it does not know what is going on hormone-wise and begins to store fat as a result.
Therefore, getting enough rest will increase the amount of leptin and decrease the amount of insulin in your body to balance out blood sugar levels and keep you from overeating.
It helps you to feel good!
Sleep is one of the most underrated activities in life, but it is important to our health. If you do not get enough sleep each night, your brain will not be able to function properly, which can lead to moodiness and depression.
A good night’s sleep helps release dopamine which is a feel-good hormone that gives energy and motivation to start your day.
It also releases growth hormones that stimulate cell development, reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone), and enhance the immune system. Unfortunately, you will probably feel tired throughout the day because you haven’t given yourself time for adequate restorative sleep.
Additionally, getting an appropriate amount of sleep ensures that every part of your body functions well during waking hours.
Makes your skin healthier
Getting a good night’s sleep will help your body produce the human growth hormone known for its anti-aging effect on the skin. It also helps regulate oil production and reduces acne breakouts. Enough rest also allows you to maintain healthy, glowing skin from your head to your toe. Sleep deprivation can lead to dry skin and dark circles under the eyes, and other noticeable signs of aging.