The Importance Of Sleep

the importance of sleep

You know sleep is important for your health and wellbeing. But chances are, you’re not getting enough sleep to be fully rested and rejuvenated.

Busy schedules compete for those precious hours of restoration. Or maybe you’ve got a few daytime habits that are disruptive to your body’s sleep cycle.

You know how it feels to not get enough sleep…

And it’s not good.

Feeling tired can put you in a bad mood, interfere with your ability to focus, and make everyday activities such as driving miserable (and potentially dangerous). 

You may have dark circles under your eyes, and your skin may show the effects of your sleepiness as well. The day after a bad night of sleep is never a fun one, but the long-term effects may of sleep deprivation may be much more serious.

Depression

If you feel cranky or blue after a night of lost sleep, imagine what a long-term pattern of sleep loss can do to your mood. 

Chronic sleep loss has been linked to depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. 

Studies have shown that sleep loss produces a lack of sociability and an increase in sadness and anger. When sleep was restored, patients reported a significant improvement in these symptoms. 

If you're feeling stressed and overwhelmed, sleeping more can be a relatively easy step to take to improve your overall mood.

Diabetes

Diabetes and sleep problems go hand in hand, and the problems can go both ways. 

Blood sugar that is out of control can lead to sleeplessness at night. 

There is also evidence that not sleeping can lead to a pre-diabetic state. 

People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to turn to food to get a boost of energy. This can have a negative effect on blood sugar levels. 

Glucose is processed more slowly when you’re sleep deprived, and this can lead to high blood-sugar levels. Getting enough sleep can help regulate blood sugar levels, and regulated blood sugar levels in turn help with getting enough sleep.

Obesity

Another effect of unregulated blood-sugar levels is weight gain. Studies have shown that people who get less sleep tend to be heavier, and being overweight can be a contributing factor in many other health issues. 

Continually getting less than six hours of sleep has been linked to a higher body mass index (BMI). 

During sleep, hormones are secreted that control appetite, energy metabolism, and glucose processing. This is disrupted when enough sleep is not obtained. The hormones that process glucose and signal the brain that it has had enough food can also be affected, and may result in food cravings and overeating. 

If one of your health goals is to reach or maintain healthy body weight, getting adequate sleep each night should be as much a priority as eating healthy foods and getting consistent exercise.

Immune Function

People who routinely don’t get enough sleep are more prone to getting sick after being exposed to viruses, and also have longer periods of recovery. 

Your body uses sleep to release proteins necessary for immune function, and chronic sleep loss can lead to reduced immune function. 

Keep your immune system healthy and strong with enough sleep!

Life Expectancy

With all of the negative effects of sleep deprivation, it should come as no surprise that sleep loss is also linked to a lower life expectancy. Across all conditions, sleep loss is linked to increased mortality risk. Making sure you're getting the right amount of sleep can go a long way toward living a long and full life.

Make Sleep a Priority

We all have busy schedules. Work, school, kids, extracurricular activities, bills to pay, groceries to buy, dinners to cook…sometimes it can feel like there’s not enough time to cover even half the items on our to-do lists.

But neglecting sleep in order to play catch-up on a never-ending list of must-do’s is never the answer. Especially not for the long term.

Make sleep a priority, whether that means investing in a mattress that will help you sleep more comfortably, rearranging your schedule to ensure you’re getting your 8-ish hours per night, or just setting an intention every day to not let sleep fall by the wayside... 

We can’t overstress the importance of good sleep.