How Sleep Affects Your Health and Well-Being
Sleep is the process that your body and brain go through to replenish energy, repair damage, and reenergize. It is a critical part of your overall health and well-being, but it’s also a highly complex process that scientists are only beginning to understand.
A person’s sleep needs vary, depending on the individual. One person may need eight hours of sleep a night, while another may only need five or six.
During sleep, your body goes through four different stages of sleep and cycles through these cycles around four to six times during the course of a night. These stages include slow-wave sleep (SWS), deep-wave sleep, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Each stage of sleep lasts between 25 and 45 minutes, with the deepest phase of sleep — called slow-wave sleep — accounting for about 25% of total time spent asleep.
Most people spend most of their sleep time in the second stage of sleep, which is known as non-rapid eye movement sleep. In this phase, heart rates, breathing patterns, and brain waves slow down significantly and the muscles relax. This is the most restful sleep phase and helps your body repair itself, grow, strengthen your immune system, and build muscle.
This type of sleep is also associated with memory consolidation, which occurs as the brain makes connections between memories and sensory input. Without enough quality sleep, your memory can become sluggish and difficult to recall.
Your sleeping patterns affect your mood and your response to stress. Research suggests that a lack of sleep can increase your risk of depression, seizures, and high blood pressure.
Sleep plays a key role in your internal clock, or circadian rhythm. A healthy sleep cycle ensures that you wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day ahead.
You can help regulate your sleep cycle by following a regular schedule, exercising regularly during the day, and going to bed at the same time every night. You should also try to avoid alcohol, caffeine, or any other stimulants.
If you can’t get enough sleep, talk to your doctor about the best way to improve your sleep. They can prescribe medications that help you sleep, or teach you how to relax and fall asleep faster.
It’s also important to set consistent sleep goals and create a sleep plan for your entire family. This will ensure everyone gets the sleep they need at the right times.
A good night’s sleep is vital to your health, and can boost your energy, mood, and memory. It’s also linked to increased lifespan and improved cardiovascular, metabolic, and immune function.
Insufficient sleep is a public health issue and can contribute to many chronic diseases, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It also increases your risk of depression and anxiety, so it’s essential to make sure you are getting the recommended amount of sleep.
Regardless of your age or stage in life, it is vital to your overall health and well-being to get the appropriate amount of sleep each night. To learn more about how much sleep you need, check out the Sleep Council’s SLEEP APP or visit their website.