A good night’s sleep is vital to our physical health and emotional well-being. That’s why the benefits of good sleep should never be underestimated
Fr. Anselm Adodo
Nowadays, there are lots of health information on the internet. Health seminars and health talks are very common. Yet, one key area of health that has received little attention is the importance of getting enough sleep. What difference could an extra hour of sleep make in your life? Quite a lot. In fact, the gap between getting just enough sleep and getting too little sleep may affect your health, your mood, your weight and your sex life.
A good night’s sleep is vital to our physical health and emotional well-being. That’s why the benefits of good sleep should never be underestimated and why getting a proper rest on a regular basis isn’t just a good idea, it’s an essential one. If you’re getting less than the recommended seven or eight hours of sleep a night, then you need to re-examine your daily schedule and your priority. Even though getting a good night’s sleep won’t grant you immunity from disease, study after study has found a link between insufficient sleep and some serious health problems, such as heart disease, heart attacks, obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
In most cases, the health risks from frequent inadequate sleep only become serious after many years. The same can also be said of many other diseases. They develop over many years, and we hardly pay attention to them till they have advanced. Cancer, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and many others are chronic diseases that developed in the body over many years. It is therefore important that we pay attention to our health now for the sake of our tomorrow. Increased stress hormones caused by lack of sleep raises the level of inflammation in your body. This creates a greater risk for heart-related conditions, as well as cancer and diabetes. Inflammation is thought to cause the body to deteriorate as we age.
If your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it can react by producing an elevated level of stress hormones, which are a natural result of today’s faster-paced lifestyles. Deep and regular sleep can help prevent this. Ever noticed that when you’re really tired, it’s harder to remember things? Basically, this is your brain telling you that it’s not getting enough sleep. When you sleep well, your body may be resting, but your brain is busy organising and storing memories. So, getting more quality sleep will help you remember and process things better.
Higher blood pressure increases your chances of heart attacks and strokes but getting plenty of restful sleep encourages a constant state of relaxation that can help reduce blood pressure and generally keep it under control. When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body’s functions are put on high alert, which causes hypertension and the production of stress hormones.
While you’re sleeping your body is producing extra protein molecules that can strengthen your ability to fight infection. So, if you’re feeling a bit run down and you don’t want it to turn into a full-blown cold, go to bed early and get lots of rest. Although sleep won’t directly make you lose weight, it can help you keep it under control by regulating the hormones that affect your appetite and reducing your cravings for high-calorie foods.
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Lack of sleep can make you more agitated, more easily irritated and fastidious, so you are more likely to snap at the boss or be bad-tempered with a loved one, neither of which is a good thing. The better your sleep, the better your ability to stay calm, controlled and reasonable.
Sleep could reduce your chances of diabetes. Not getting enough sleep may lead to type-two diabetes by affecting how your body processes glucose. It’s not conclusive by any means, but it’s yet another indication of how important the benefits of sleep can be. A regular sleep pattern can help to lower the levels of stress and inflammation to your cardiovascular system, which in turn can reduce your chances of a stroke or heart condition.
If you’re suffering pain from a recent injury like a sprained ankle, getting plenty of sleep can make you hurt less. There is a link between lack of sleep and inability to bear pain. Along with a great night’s sleep, one or two hour’s nap in the daytime can contribute towards making your brain more effective and productive. It will make you feel sharper, more attentive and focused for the rest of the day.
Did you know that people who consistently work late night shifts have a higher risk of developing breast and colon cancer? Researchers believe light exposure reduces melatonin levels. Melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, is thought to protect against cancer as it appears to suppress the growth of tumours. Be sure that your bedroom is dark and avoid using electronics before bed to help your body produce the melatonin it needs.
Sleep impacts many of the chemicals in your body, including serotonin. People with serotonin deficiencies are more likely to suffer from depression. You can help to prevent depression by making sure you are getting the right amount of sleep: between 7 and 9 hours each night. Sleep is a time to relax, but it’s also a time during which the body is hard at work repairing damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays, and other harmful exposure. Your cells produce more protein while you are sleeping, and these protein molecules form the building blocks for cells.