Sleep is a biological process that occurs during which your body’s energy expenditure, breathing rate and blood pressure gradually drop.
It’s a crucial part of human health, and it’s linked to everything from weight loss and a stronger immune system to improved mental and emotional wellbeing and longer life.
Getting enough rest is vital to your overall well-being, but it’s not always easy to make sleep a priority. That’s why scientists are working to better understand the many benefits of a good night’s sleep and help people get it.
Understanding the Benefits of Sleep
A lot has been learned about sleep over the years, including its four distinct stages and what happens to your brain during each. For example, during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, your eyes close and brain waves slow down, while in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, you dream and your muscles are paralyzed so they can’t move.
The benefits of REM sleep are even more fascinating, though: It’s thought that during this stage your brain produces neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, that improve memory and mood. In addition, your body releases growth hormones during deep sleep that promote healthy development and increase muscle mass.
It also helps you maintain a healthy weight and control your appetite, as your hunger hormones decrease during sleep.
There are also several other important benefits of sleep, including helping you feel more energized and alert during the day. A good night’s sleep also helps you remember and recall important things, and it increases your learning and creativity.
In addition, it helps you manage stress and reduces your risk of developing a variety of health problems, including cancer and heart disease.
Sleeping helps your body rid itself of toxins and waste.
The glymphatic system, which is connected to the brain’s sleep cycle, works during sleep to clear out toxic byproducts that build up during the day.
This system is regulated by the body’s internal clock, which regulates the amount of sleep you need.
It also affects your metabolism, which means that a lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and infections.
Your body’s sleep cycle is governed by the circadian rhythm, an internal clock that sets your sleep rhythm according to light and dark cues from your environment.
During wakefulness, the SCN controls the production of a variety of hormones, including cortisol and melatonin. These hormones influence your body’s energy balance, metabolism, and blood sugar levels.
Researchers have found that sleep can also impact your immune system, and that missing a few nights of sleep can increase your risk for illness and infection.
A lack of sleep can also negatively affect your mood, making you more likely to be depressed or anxious. It can also cause you to have a hard time controlling your emotions and thinking clearly.
Getting enough sleep is essential to all aspects of your life, from your health and happiness to your ability to manage stress and perform at your best. Thankfully, it’s easier to achieve than you might think.