Breaking down the many effects of sleep on our health & well-being
Sleep is as essential as eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly to stay healthy. Several health problems can be associated with not sleeping the recommended seven to nine hours per night, from blood pressure problems to an increased risk of obesity.
There is no doubt that sleep is essential for a healthy body and mind. Sleep is a significant and necessary aspect of life; without it, you can’t survive. Your body benefits from a good night’s sleep for maintaining health and improving concentration, memory, and overall mental well-being.
Even if your sleep problems only occur occasionally, what do you do? Is it possible to adversely impact one sleepless night of tossing and turning?
Pulmonologist and expert in sleep disorders explains an interruption in night’s sleep severely affects emotional and physical health.
Continue reading if you’re curious about how sleep improves your health and what you can do to improve your sleeping habits.
Is sleeplessness linked to any health conditions?
Health problems, such as heart attacks, asthma, and depression, are more likely to be experienced by adults who sleep fewer than seven hours per night. Less than seven hours of sleep increases the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
The following health issues are involved:
- High blood pressure. Blood pressure falls when you are usually sleeping. In the case of sleep problems, your blood pressure will remain high for longer. Heart disease and stroke risk increase high when you have high blood pressure. Around 75 million Americans—one in three adults—have high blood pressure.
- Type 2 diabetes. A person with diabetes has high blood sugar levels, which can damage the blood vessels in the body by increasing glucose levels. A few studies have shown that people with diabetes who get excellent sleep manage their blood sugar better.
- Obesity. An insufficient amount of sleep can result in unhealthy weight gain. The amount of sleep needed by children and adolescents is usually higher than that of adults, and sleep deprivation may affect the part of the brain associated with hunger.
It would be best if you got a good night’s sleep for your health. Getting enough sleep is as critical as eating a balanced, nutritious diet and exercising.
Sleep is associated with the following factors:
Health benefits of sleep
Without enough sleep, your body is less prepared to fight viruses and infections, thus leaving you more vulnerable to diabetes and high blood pressure. Your body produces more cortisol when tired, a hormone that affects stress, and coronary heart disease and heart attacks have also been associated with this hormone.
Our immune system is directly impacted by adequate sleep as well. Even a few hours less sleep can negatively affect your ability to fight cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control, sleep loss can drastically decrease the effectiveness of your NK cells. Researchers found that reducing the ability of these NK cells was associated with an increased risk of cancer death in a follow-up study.
You’re getting a vaccine soon, aren’t you? It appears that vaccines are more effective if you have slept enough. After receiving a vaccine, adequate sleep helped the body produce enough T-cells to combat viruses, according to a study published in 2012.
Sleep helps with inflammation
The occurrence of chronic inflammation has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, among other health problems. Researchers have discovered that not getting enough sleep can seriously affect the inflammation levels your body produces, and people who sleep poorly show an increased risk of developing chronic inflammation.
The presence of inflammation is also closely linked to many skin conditions. Circadian rhythm disruption and sleep disorders like sleep apnea can increase skin inflammation.
Sleep reduces depression
Everyone needs good quality sleep to feel refreshed and ready for the day ahead. However, people suffering from depression may find it even more beneficial.
Approximately 300 million people yearly suffer from depression, a mental health disorder. The struggle to sleep worsens with age, and 80% of those suffering from depression complain of at least one insomnia symptom.
Researchers have determined that treating sleep disturbances and depression can help reduce the overall impact of depression symptoms. According to a study published in 2016, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) improved sleep quality in test participants who were addressing sleep-wake behavior. In turn, this reduced their depression symptoms.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on thoughts and feelings that are driving behaviors. In subsequent studies, CBT has also proven effective in treating sleep disorders and alleviating depression symptoms.
Anxiety is reduced by sleep
20% of Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. These disorders can adversely affect health and well-being. Like many other mental health conditions, anxiety disorders make sleeping harder. People can suffer from physical and psychological anxiety symptoms that prevent them from getting the necessary sleep. A lack of sleep exacerbates or can then trigger the symptoms of anxiety.
Common anxiety treatments, such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), can also address sleep issues. As well as reducing anxiety and improving sleep, low-impact exercises like tai chi and yoga are also beneficial. You can easily incorporate relaxation exercises into your sleep routine to help manage stress and increase the likelihood of getting a good night’s sleep.
Sleep helps improve learning and memory
When it comes to a test, ensure that you get enough sleep! New studies show that sleep directly impacts the retention and learning of further information. As well as improving our mood, it improves our problem-solving ability and available memory.
By getting enough sleep, your brain can build neural connections essential for memory and cognition, allowing you to learn and remember better when awake.
Sleep can even help with weight loss
Most overweight or obese adults are exhausted and sleep less than their peers. According to a 2019 study, people who make up for sleep debt by sleeping in during the weekend do not experience the downsides of weight gain. This study demonstrates that people who wish to maintain a lower weight may want to consider making sleep a priority on a nightly basis.
The levels of ghrelin and leptin are directly affected by sleep deprivation, and these two hormones are closely associated with hunger and weight. Throughout the day, ghrelin – the so-called “hunger hormone” – increases, causing you to feel hungry. Your body produces leptin, which indicates to your brain that you are full. When you’re tired, leptin levels drop, making you less likely to stop eating after complete satisfaction.
If you’re trying to gain weight, sleep can also help. Several studies have shown that sleep affects the ability of the body to repair and gain muscle. A survey conducted in 2019 found that weight lifters’ endurance and capacity improved when they were sleep-deprived. Exercise also enhances sleep quality, so it’s a win-win scenario!
Sleep improves productivity and performance
Sleep deprivation can make you forgetful, tired, and lazy. If you do not get enough sleep, you will not be able to perform high-level tasks, leading to decreased job performance. By getting enough sleep, you’re more likely to be safe on the job and to respond faster when it’s time to respond.
If you’re exhausted, you’re unlikely to feel motivated to do your best at work or home, allowing things to slip by unattended, leading to increased stress down the road. A good night’s sleep also helps reduce mood swings and gives you a better emotional capacity for dealing with stressful situations.
What sleep conditions can damage my heart health?
The effects of sleep problems on your heart can accumulate over time. An individual with sleep apnea continually has their airway blocked during sleep, causing them to stop breathing for short periods. Those suffering from heart failure and obesity are more likely to have sleep apnea.
You risk high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke if you suffer from sleep apnea, which reduces the amount of oxygen you receive during sleep. Hispanic, Black, and Native Americans are more prone to the condition than whites.
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both. It is estimated that 1 in 2 adults will have short-term insomnia at some point in their lives, and 1 in 10 adults will have long-term insomnia. Hypertension and heart disease have been associated with insomnia.
Sleep deprivation can also result in health problems that can harm your heart, including more stress, less motivation to stay active, and unhealthy eating habits.
How much sleep should I get?
You may think you sleep enough each night and maybe severely undersleeping according to the current recommendations for your age group.
– Adults: 7-8 hours per day
– Teenagers: 9-10 hours per day
– School-Going Children: At least 10 hours per day
– Preschool-Going Children: 11-12 hours per day
– Newborns: 16-18 hours per day
Over 30% of Americans sleep for less than six hours per night, despite the recommendation of 7-8 hours of sleep per night for adults. A lack of sleep can cause your body to accumulate a sleep debt, adversely affecting your health.
The dangers of sleep deprivation
Almost everyone would acknowledge that sleep is beneficial, but more than that, sleep deprivation can seriously affect your health.
There are a lot of people who think sleep deprivation is not that harmful. However, it is! If you don’t get enough sleep, it can negatively affect your mental and physical health, including
– Obesity risk increases
– Memory loss
– Heart disease risk increases
– An increased risk of type 2 diabetes
– Poor digestive health
– High blood pressure
– Inability to concentrate
– Poor self-control
Tips to sleep better at night
More important than having a good night’s sleep is the quality of your sleep. Below are some tips for getting a better night’s sleep.
– Bedroom renovations
– People should avoid late-night eating
– Before you go to bed, take a hot bath
– Establish a regular bedtime
– Don’t take a nap in the afternoon
– Avoid caffeine around bedtime
– Don’t use screens before bed
– Get up early and exercise
– During the day, expose yourself to more bright light.
Most people do not stress enough how important sleep is. When you don’t get enough sleep, it negatively impacts nearly every aspect of your life. Sleep affects performance, your relationships, and how you feel about yourself.
You need sleep just as much as exercise and good nutrition for good health, and poor sleep may cause chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Good quality sleep, on the other hand, may boost your immune system, reduce stress levels, increase productivity, and allow your body to heal and rejuvenate.
People generally sleep less because of their busy lives, but sometimes because of their genetic makeup. If you lack sleep chronically, you must conduct a DNA wellness test before taking any medications. Follow the tips above to enhance health and well-being through a good night’s sleep.
Consider better understanding your body to address poor sleep health
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