The Benefits of Sleep

You’re probably aware that you feel better mentally and physically after a good night of sleep. But you may not realize that sleep actually repairs the body on a cellular level, strengthening key systems that fight disease, improve fitness and help keep you looking and feeling healthy. In addition, good sleep is a key factor in supporting normal brain function and mental health throughout life.

It’s also important to remember that the amount of sleep you get has a direct effect on your weight, blood pressure and heart rate. In fact, one bad night of sleep can put you at a greater risk for diabetes and other metabolic disorders. In other words, sleep is the body’s natural way to protect itself from the “diseases of civilization” like obesity and heart disease.

Scientists have long studied the effects of sleep, and they are still discovering many of its mysteries. They are finding that sleep is far more than the passive state that most people once believed. In fact, scientists have discovered that it is a time when the brain and body are engaged in a variety of active processes that are vital for both physical and mental health.

One of the biggest revelations about sleep came with the discovery of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This is a stage of sleep when your eyes move rapidly from side to side, brain waves speed up, and breathing and heart rates increase. It is the stage of sleep during which dreams occur, and it is an important part of learning and memory.

It has been shown that, during REM sleep, the brain produces special proteins that repair damage to cells from stress and other factors. This is why it’s so important for the body to have adequate amounts of REM sleep.

Most experts agree that adults need about seven hours of sleep a night. Getting less than this can affect your health in many ways, including weakening your immune system and making it harder to focus during the day. It can also make it harder to regulate your blood sugar levels, which puts you at a higher risk for diabetes and other conditions.

During sleep, the heart and blood vessels repair themselves from the stresses of daily living. In addition, the immune system gets the rest it needs to fight off diseases like colds and the flu. Sleep can also improve the effectiveness of vaccines by helping the antibodies and cells in your body remember germs and other threats, so they are ready to fight them off again when you come into contact with them.

While the human body is a complex machine, most experts now believe that the basic elements of its functioning are relatively simple. You can greatly enhance your quality of life by ensuring that you have a regular routine for sleep, including going to bed and rising at roughly the same times each day. Keeping to this schedule will help you fall asleep easily and stay asleep through the night.