Sleep is a vital part of our physical and mental health. It affects the brain, heart, lungs, metabolism, immune function, mood, and disease resistance. It also plays a key role in regulating weight and keeping us healthy.
Everyone needs sleep, but a lot of people don’t get enough of it. This can cause a variety of problems and is one of the most common reasons people are overweight or suffer from chronic diseases.
The body uses sleep to rest and repair itself, which may be why many scientists believe that getting adequate rest helps ward off disease.
During sleep, the immune system produces proteins and cells that help the body detect, fight off, and prevent infection. The cells and proteins work together to destroy bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that might be in your body.
When you’re sick or stressed, your immune system can feel overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the job at hand. That’s why it’s so important to get plenty of sleep during those times, and why a lack of it can make you more vulnerable to infections.
Researchers are still learning more about the role of sleep in our health, but they do know that it has numerous benefits for the human body. Some of these benefits are:
Improves cognitive performance (learning and memory)
When you don’t get enough sleep, you have a hard time processing new information and making good decisions. In addition, you may experience lapses in memory and be more likely to commit mistakes.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Those who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be stressed or anxious, which can lead to many health issues such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. It can also increase your risk of developing depression, and may cause you to be less able to cope with stressful situations.
Improves emotional well-being
Research shows that sleep improves the brain’s ability to process emotion and regulate its own response to stress. In particular, it strengthens the amygdala — a brain region that controls our fear response — which helps us stay calm in stressful situations.
Improves your memory
Studies have shown that sleep allows your brain to process memories and consolidate them into long-term storage. It can even wipe out unneeded memories that may clutter your mind, allowing your brain to focus on the things that matter.
Supports your heart and immune systems
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the average adult needs 7 hours of sleep each night to maintain good health. Having insufficient sleep, or not getting enough of it, can cause a number of health problems that can lead to serious illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
Sleep is also a vital part of maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. The hormone insulin, which is responsible for helping blood sugar enter the body’s cells, also depends on a person’s sleep.
There are many factors that can impact your sleep, including your job and family life. Having a regular sleep routine is an effective way to ensure you get the sleep you need. This can include limiting screen time, going to bed at the same time every day, and setting aside some quiet time before you go to sleep.