Benefits of Sleep: Why Sleep is So Important for Our Health


Sleep is an important part of staying healthy. We need to get enough sleep for the health of our bodies and brains.
Sleep for Good Physical Health

Being a good sleeper is critical for maintaining our physical health. First, getting adequate sleep helps us stay at a healthy weight. When our bodies get enough rest, they are more likely to properly regulate ghrelin, the hormone that that makes us feel hungry, and leptin, the hormone that makes us feel full. Keeping those hormones at the proper levels helps to keep us from overeating, which can help us maintain our weight.

Next, sleep helps maintain our immune function. When we sleep enough, we are less likely than poor sleepers to become sick from common infections such as colds. Another way sleep benefits our bodies is that adequate sleep is associated with less physical pain because poor sleep is believed to lower our pain threshold. Finally, sleeping well decreases our risk for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

Sleep for Brain Health

Sleep helps our minds function as well. For example, sleep plays two major roles in learning. The first is that we must have adequate sleep to focus our attention on the material we're supposed to be learning. The other way that sleep contributes to learning is that sleep protects our memory. While we're sleeping our brains perform memory consolidation, which is necessary to retain new information.

Adequate sleep helps us make good decisions. Being a good sleeper also makes us more productive in our work and studies. Sleep decreases our chances of making mistakes, which lowers our risk of injury to ourselves and others.

How to Get the Benefits of Sleep

Adults need to get seven to eight hours of good quality sleep nightly. Low quality sleep is characterized by waking up several times a night. For sleep to be beneficial it has to be high-quality. Often we can improve our sleep quality by taking a few simple steps to turn our bedrooms into good sleep environments. Start with a small task like getting the room dark enough for sleep by covering the windows. Next, declutter the bedroom. Since we should be spending about one-third of our time asleep, it makes sense to get a bed that we actually want to sleep in. Invest in your health and get a bed you love with a high-quality mattress. If you've always dreamed of stylish four poster beds in mahogany, get one and get to sleep.

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