Why is sleep so important for your health?
Sleep is a hot topic nowadays, but not too many people take the importance of sleep seriously. With a society oriented towards achieving goals and a fast-paced lifestyle, many people cut on their hours of sleep in exchange for more time being productive or spending time with friends late because of lack of time. Even half of the people that know they have sleep issues like sleep apnea or other disorders, don’t take it seriously. It’s easy to understand that people feel like they can get away with 6 hours or less of sleep a night because they don’t see the immediate problem or consequences of that on their health. Sleep has always been needed so that everything functions optimally in your bodies and minds. A lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your system. It is estimated that 50 to 70 million of people in the US suffer from insomnia. To them sleep is a luxury but what really happens long term when we lack sleep? Let’s explore that in this article today.
The first signs most of us notice when we lack sleep is that we start feeling sluggish mentally. With less than 6 hours of sleep, you feel tired, forgetful, irritable, and just not on the top of your game. With time and accumulation, people around you will notice that you are always in a bad mood, maybe depressed, you provide poor job performance and work, you turn into a person no one likes to be around.
One specific study that the Mental Health Foundation conducted found that people who didn’t get enough sleep were 2.6 times more likely to commit suicide, three times more likely to be depressed, have relationship problems, and four times as likely to suffer from lack of concentration daily.
Another critical point is that the brain only regenerates and removes toxins from itself when you sleep. If you want to help your brain do its job, you need that must-needed shut-eye. Without sleep and time, you will be a less efficient and zombie-like version of yourself.
Today more people are concerned with their weight than their sleep, but multiple studies point out the direct connection between both. A stormy night’s sleep does increase your chance of obesity. This has to do directly with the fact that the longer you are awake, the hungrier you will be, and you will consume much more calories than necessary. Your body needs calories to stay awake and keep going, so you are directly affecting that process by not getting to bed, leading to significant weight gain with time. So aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night, and you should be on the right track.
This is an important one and one you should pay attention to. The University of Warwick conducted a study that concluded that getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night on an ongoing basis, makes you 48% more likely to die from a heart disease and 15% more likely to die from a stroke. Late nights and early mornings are a ticking bomb for your health and wreak havoc on your heart.
If you are over 65 years of age, you have 83% more chance of developing high blood pressure which is a critical factor for heart diseases and strokes.
If you are sleeping 7-9 hours a night, studies have concluded that you will live longer than someone who doesn’t and that you are 12% more likely to die in the next 25 years than a person who gets adequate sleep.
With the ongoing Pandemic and the danger to die being more present nowadays than before, immune functions should be a factor that you weigh in the balance very strongly. Studies conducted on shift workers on works nights have concluded that you are more likely to get sick and miss work days if you have poor sleep habits and reduce sleep hours than if you don’t. This is due to your white blood cell levels dropping significantly when you don’t catch enough sleep.
How can you improve your sleep
One great way to increase the quality and duration of your sleep is to use a sleeping mask. They are relatively cheap, very durable and they will block all incoming light, leading to a prolonged sleep and peaceful atmosphere. My favorite company is Sleep Monkey which designs the best sleep masks on the market right now.
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