Contributed by – Healthians team
Before we get into the topic, we have a few questions for you.
How many hours of sleep do you usually get?
Do you have a consistent sleep routine?
How do you feel when you sleep for 9+ hours a day?
And how do you feel when you sleep for less than 6 hours a day?
Well, as you answer these questions you’ll understand what kind of sleep routine you have. You are probably aware how essential it is to sleep for at least 7 or 8 hours everyday, the reality is that whether it is working overnight, or trying to calm a cranky infant, or getting up early to finish some chores, your sleep is the most likely victim of a busy schedule. But getting good sleep isn’t just important because it gives you the energy for daily life. Sleep has a major impact on your mental and physical well-being. Don’t believe us? Read on.
Good sleep for mental health
The relationship between sleep and mental health is close and complex. You may already know that insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. Almost 33% of the world’s population is affected by it. But do you know that not just chronic insomnia, but on and off struggle with sleep is also a contributing factor to mental illnesses? Initially, researchers viewed sleep disorders as one of the symptoms of mental illness. However, with more research, it has been established that sleep issues can become a contributing factor in the development of mental illness or even worsen any existing situation. So, if you work on your sleep routine, you might be able to reduce the risk of mental illnesses or if you are already dealing with it, better sleep might help alleviate the symptoms.
Good sleep for a healthy heart
Sleep is linked to a healthy heart because, during normal sleep, your blood pressure goes down. If you are not getting an adequate amount of sleep consistently, your blood pressure will remain high for a long time which can potentially damage your arteries. Stroke, heart failure and hypertension are a few complications that may follow. Obesity is another risk. Short sleepers or sleep-deprived people tend to snack more. This tendency can lead to obesity which is again a risk to heart health.
Good sleep for managing diabetes
Diabetes and sleep issues often go hand in hand. Diabetes can cause you to lose sleep or sleep deprivation can increase your risk of developing diabetes. If you are not well-rested, you’ll try to get that extra energy from somewhere. Sugary food is often the first choice which can spike your blood sugar levels. Besides, obesity plays a role here as well. It’s a major contributing factor to the development of diabetes. Hence, for better diabetes management or to keep the risk at bay, getting good sleep every night is important.
Good sleep for a healthy pregnancy
Pregnancy, though exciting, comes with its own physical and mental challenges. The aches and pains, heartburn and growing belly – everything can contribute to sleepless nights. Good sleep during pregnancy is important because fatigue, sleeping aids and depressed mood can hamper the development of your baby. Further, it can also increase the likelihood of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Changes in sleep patterns can appear as early as the first trimester. The second trimester may bring some relief but the third trimester can be the most difficult when it comes to having a good sleep. Hence, you might need to put deliberate effort to make a consistent sleep schedule so that you and your baby remain healthy and happy.
Good sleep for glowing skin
The thing is when you sleep your body rejuvenates and that reflects on your skin. Seven to nine hours of sleep is often recommended for most adults. Any less than that can lead to the development of wrinkles, sagging skin and dark circles under the eye. The reason is that during sleep, your body delivers fluids to organs and tissues while removing excess fluids from other areas. If you do not sleep for an adequate amount of time this process is cut short. Further, lack of sleep also raises the level of stress hormone called cortisol. This hormone can destabilize your immune system and can worsen conditions like acne, psoriasis and eczema.
Good sleep for weight loss
The inability to lose weight is linked to sleep deprivation in many ways. Firstly, your body needs extra energy to function. So you are more likely to eat more. Secondly, your brain might be too tired to make healthy choices. And last, but not the least, sleep deprivation slows your metabolism down. Since your body needs more and more energy, your body starts retaining fat instead of burning it.
Good sleep for better immunity
You can find numerous studies showing that those who do not get quality sleep are more likely to catch infections and get sick frequently. Lack of sleep also impacts how quickly you recover from a particular illness. During your sleep, your immune system produces proteins called cytokines. Some of these proteins actually help promote sleep while the production of certain others needs to increase to fight off infections and inflammation. If you’re sleep-deprived, the production of these proteins decreases making you prone to illnesses.
While most of us understand the importance of nutrition, hydration and fitness, sleep doesn’t get equal importance in our efforts to have a healthy lifestyle. But, now that you know that sleeping well is equally if not more important to lead a healthy and happy life, you should consciously try and not compromise on it.