Let's face it...these days it's hard to get a good night's sleep. We may have overloaded work schedules or other physical, financial or personal stressors in life which, in turn, slowly chip away at the amount of sleep we are getting.
But how much sleep do you need as an adult? According to Sleepfoundation.org, adults between 26-64 years old need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day. Anything beyond that is sleep deprivation and could bring serious effects. Chronic lack of sleep may lead to heart diseases, diabetes, depression, and obesity.
The benefits of getting good, quality sound sleep are plenty. We've listed 8 of them for you.
1) Increases body's defenses
You are prone to viruses, bacteria, and infection from not getting a good night's sleep. Studies show that lack of sleep lowers your immune system and makes you susceptible to diseases. It reduces the production of antibodies and infection-fighting cells, which also affects your body's healing speed.
2) Helps avoid weight gain
Are you familiar with the hungry hormone? Ghrelin, or the "hungry hormone," is produced by the GI (GastroIntestinal) cells and is often high during mealtimes and when we lack sleep. The said hormone boosts our appetite makes us want to eat more. In connection to that, depression and stress are also the effects of sleep deprivation that push us to have food cravings. Gaining weight out of control can progress to obesity which makes you prone to develop chronic diseases.
3) Good for the heart
People who are not getting enough sleep are at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke. It is because our body produces cortisol or the "stress hormone" when we lack sleep. Cortisols prompt the heart to work harder. It constricts blood vessels and increases your blood pressure which in turn can cause plaque buildup and damage your veins. A good sleep practice and routine can prevent these diseases. Live a healthy heart!
4) Increases productivity
Are you someone working 9 to 5, a student aiming for good grades, or retired personnel at home? You must know that having an adequate sleep increases your productivity and makes your performance better. With enough sleep, you will be able to focus more, improve your critical thinking skills, and function better. You will be able to perform well at your job, think sharply on graded recitations, or be more productive at home. Having sufficient rest can make us do our best!
5) Keeps you happy
One way to be happy is to get enough quality sleep. When we have the right amount of sleep, we feel positive and in a good mood to face the day. Studies show that those who lack sleep are easily angered and irritated. It makes them lose focus at work and does not get all their tasks done. Whereas, those who are well-rested have more energy and able to handle their workload well. Also, you may want to get more sleep if you are a parent. Research shows that 52% of parents that don't have enough sleep yell more at their kids than parents who were able to sleep well. Keep this in mind mommas, as we do not want this to happen!
6) Enhances memory
Being sleep-deprived results in poor judgment, unable to think clearly, and affects our fine-motor skills. Studies show that our brain produces waves when we sleep, which is essential for keeping memories. It transports memories from the hippocampus to the prefrontal cortex (storage of long-term memories). Lack of sleep makes those memories trapped in the hippocampus. It can make us forgetful, influences our ability to learn, and makes it difficult to recall things. Take care of your brain and sleep more!
7) Helps mental health
Diseases are not the only effects of sleep deprivation. It can also affect our mental health. It affects our emotions, social interactions, and worst it can lead to depression. Poor sleep can affect how you interact, and at times can make you feel sensitive. You may not be in the mood to have a conversation or notice the people around you, or you can be easily triggered or irritated by their behaviors. Whether it is a depression or you just feel emotional, it is best to fix your sleep problems first. Establish good sleeping habits like remove screen time or distractions at bedtime. Sleep can help you restore or improve your mental health. However, if you are experiencing insomnia, anxiety, or depression, it is best to seek professional help.
8) Sleep and Beauty
A person's beauty often shows when they wake up in the morning. That is after 6 to 8 hours of good sleep. Having good quality sleep not only improves our health on the inside but also becomes visible on the outside. That is because, during sleep, there is an increased blood flow in our face which makes it glow in the morning. It can also make our cheeks rosy because of that blood flow and makes us look more attractive. Being sleep deprived can leave wrinkles, circles under our eyes and make us look stressed and sadder. So hit the sack early and take that beauty rest!
Sleep truly has wonderful benefits for our health, mind, and body. Getting quality sleep will surely benefit us in the short and long run. We may have busy days, but let's all strive for more restful nights. Listen to your body. Take care of yourself and make sure you get that needed good night's sleep.