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Why sleep is essential for health



Getting enough sleep is essential for helping a person maintain optimal health and well-being. When it comes to their health, sleep is as vital as regular exercise and eating a balanced diet.


Modern-day living in the United States and many other countries do not always embrace the necessity for adequate sleep. Yet, it is important that people make an effort to get enough sleep regularly.


The following are some of the many benefits health professionals associated with getting a good night’s rest.


1. Better productivity and concentration Research has linked getting enough sleep to better concentration, productivity, and cognition. There were several studies that scientists did in the early 2000s that looked at the effects of sleep deprivation.

What the researchers concluded is that sleep has links to several brain functions, including:

  • concentration

  • productivity

  • cognition

A more recent 2015 study in the Journal of Child Psychology and PsychiatryTrusted Sourceshowed that children’s sleep patterns can have a direct impact on their behavior and academic performance.


2. Lower weight gain risk

The link between weight gain and obesity and short sleep patterns is not completely clear.

There have been several studies throughout the years that have linked obesity and poor sleep patterns.

However, a more recent study in the journal Sleep MedicineTrusted Source concludes that there is no link between being overweight and sleep deprivation. This research argues that many previous studies fail to account adequately for other factors, such as:

  • drinking alcohol

  • living with type 2 diabetes

  • level of physical activity

  • education levels

  • long working hours

  • long sedentary time

A lack of sleep may affect a person’s desire or ability to maintain a healthful lifestyle, but it may or may not be a direct contributor to weight gain.

If you’re curious to learn more evidence-based information about the fascinating world of sleep, visit our dedicated hub.


3. Better calorie regulation Similarly to gaining weight, there is evidence to suggest that getting a good night’s sleep can help a person consume fewer calories during the day.

For example, one study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of AmericaTrusted Source says that sleep patterns affect the hormones responsible for appetite.

When a person does not sleep long enough, it can interfere with their body’s ability to regulate food intake correctly.

4. Greater athletic performance Getting a sufficient amount of sleep can boost a person’s athletic performance. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adequate sleep for adults is between 7 and 9 hours a night, and athletes may benefit from as many as 10 hours. Accordingly, sleep is as important to athletes as consuming enough calories and nutrients. One of the reasons for this requirement is that the body heals during sleep. Other benefits include:

  • better performance intensity

  • more energy

  • better coordination

  • faster speed

  • better mental functioning



5. Lower risk of heart disease

One risk factor for heart disease is high blood pressure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, getting adequate rest each night allows the body’s blood pressure to regulate itself.

Doing so can reduce the chances of sleep-related conditions such as apnea and promote better overall heart health.

6. More social and emotional intelligence Sleep has links to people’s emotional and social intelligence. Someone who does not get adequate sleep is more likely to have issues with recognizing other people’s emotions and expressions. For example, one study in the Journal of Sleep ResearchTrusted Source looked at people’s responses to emotional stimuli. The researchers concluded, similarly to many earlier studies, that a person’s emotional empathy is less when they do not get adequate sleep.


7. Preventing depression The association between sleep and mental health has been the subject of research for a long time. One conclusion is that there is a link between lack of sleep and depression.

A study appearing in JAMA PsychiatryTrusted Source examines patterns of death by suicide over 10 years. It concludes that lack of sleep is a contributing factor to many of these deaths.