After a long day at work, nothing feels better than climbing into bed, cuddling up under the covers and slowly dozing off. Eight hours later, you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day. Getting enough sleep is essential when it comes to good mental, physical and emotional health.
It is common knowledge that doctors recommend people get around eight hours of sleep each night to stay healthy. However, the amount of sleep that the human body requires depends on age.
For example, according to The Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep. As a result of their bodies and brains still developing, children and teenagers need eight to 10 hours each night. Contrary to popular belief, the amount of sleep that senior citizens need does not decrease as their age increases. Typically, doctors suggest that the 65 and over group get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
But why is making sure to get enough sleep important? Here is a list of the health benefits that sleep provides that you might not know about:
Sleep Supports Weight Loss
Not getting enough sleep is a key player in weight gain. According to Healthline, adults who do not get an adequate amount of sleep each night are 55% more likely to be obese and that percentage increases to 89% for children. Poor sleep can also lead to weight gain as a result of it slowing the body’s metabolism while increasing appetite.
However, people who get the recommended amount of sleep each night are more likely to have healthier eating and exercise habits. For example, when the body is fully rested it does not crave the quick energy boost that it would receive from sugary foods. People who are well-rested are less likely to skip the gym and as a result, have a higher metabolism.
Sleep Reduces Stress
Increasing the amount of sleep you get each night can actually lower your stress level. When you get a good night’s sleep, you are less likely to become irritated and impatient, two things that escalate stress levels. Not to mention, plenty of rest improves your overall mood and outlook on life.
One effect of stress that can be increased by sleep deprivation is high blood pressure. High blood pressure is caused by hormones that are released when the body is stressed, and the body is stressed when it does not get enough sleep. If untreated, high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Besides getting medication, more sleep can help to reduce and control dangerous blood pressure levels.
Sleep is Great for Making Memories
Even though our bodies are at rest during sleep, our brains never cease to work. While we are sleeping, our brains are busy progressing our entire day. Our brains use these seven to nine hours (hopefully) to make memories by connecting feelings and sensory inputs to events that happened throughout the day.
The brain is able to do this by transferring information from one side of the brain to the other. Sleep makes the process easier by allowing the brain to carry out these functions uninterrupted by the thought processes that occur when the body is awake.
Despite the fact that many people think of fond times with family and friends when they hear the word “memory,” the word also refers to the skills we have learned over the years. Our brains have a harder time retaining information when sleep deprived, which is why it is essential for children to get plenty of sleep. Without the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep each night, children will have a harder time picking up important skills.
Sleep Repairs and Protects the Body
Do you ever go to sleep with a cut but wake up with a scab? Well that is the result of your body healing itself while you sleep. When you are asleep, your body is able to put more energy toward repairing and protecting itself than when you are awake.
While you are sleeping, your body is busy making proteins that fight inflammation and infections, called cytokines, which strengthen your immune system. The catch is that your body only makes and releases these proteins when you are asleep. So a lack of sleep can make the body more susceptible to a wide array of illnesses and diseases.
In addition to these four major health benefits, sleep can also help fight depression, improve your mood and make you more alert. So really, there is no downside to getting enough sleep. However, it is important to understand that the different phases of sleep can also affect the degree in which our bodies experience these benefits.
Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Well it could be the result of an old or uncomfortable mattress. If you think you are experiencing sleep deprivation, give us a call. We know how important sleep is for your overall health and can help you find the perfect mattress for your sleeping needs.