AS lifestyles get busier and more packed these days, the average person is almost always faced with the temptation of giving up on sleep to get more productivity. After all, the availability of more and more part-time, particularly home-based pursuits makes money-making not only possible but also a very attractive task. Or, other people may choose to forgo sleep for social commitments, particularly after a busy week full of stressful work. While their body craves sleep, their being social beings demand longer periods of night socializing, resulting in a body deprived of sleep one way or another.
Interestingly, as more people forgo sleep for many other activities they view as more valuable, Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine has shown through various studies that the way a person’s body manages and requires sleep is actually similar to the way it regulates its need for eating, drinking, an even breathing. Sleep has been proven to play an important and indispensable role in promoting not only physical health and longevity, but also emotional well-being.
That said, it is no wonder why a person who has had a good night’s sleep will tend to be in a better mood, enjoy clearer thoughts, and have less fragile emotions. Judgment, concentration, memory, and even mood are inadvertently weakened by lack of sleep. How do you define lack of sleep, though? Typically, teens require 8-9 hours of sleep, while adults operate best by 7-9 hours of sleep. Of course, the quality of sleep matters, too, because there may be people who get enough sleep by the hour but have poor quality of sleep because of many plaguing thoughts that turn into nightmares. Overall, though, the health benefits of sleep, regardless of quality, are incontestable:
1. Sleep repairs body cells. How does this happen during sleep that does not happen when a person is awake? It turns out that the human body produces more protein molecules during sleep, which help fight infection and allow a person to stay healthy. The immune system benefits from these molecules, as they repair the body at cell level, resulting in obvious benefits during stressful times or when the person is exposed to bacteria or pollutants.
2. Sleep aids in keeping a healthy heart. A person’s cardiovascular system is always under pressure; sleep helps keep it healthy by reducing stress and inflammation in the body. Heart disease is reportedly linked to high levels of inflammatory markers. Sleep also helps keep cholesterol levels and blood pressure in check, and these play a crucial role in heart conditions.
3. Stress levels are reduced by sleep. Not only does sleep lower blood pressure, the levels of stress hormones produced by the pressure-packed lifestyle are also lowered. This keeps a person in better stance to fight against wear and tear. Also, degeneration of cells caused by the physical impact of stress also catalyzes aging, and sleep effectively slows these effects while also encouraging a state of relaxation.
4. Sleep helps improve one’s memory. Nobody can argue at the foggy and almost lost feeling a person has when he is deprived of sleep. Poor concentration comes next, which result in poor memory retention or even attention to important conversations. What happens when you sleep? During sleep, the brain gets busy organizing as well as correlating memories. This means that getting enough sleep lets your brain develop better at processing new information and experiences.
5. Sleep helps regulate body weight. Some people claim that they lost weight since they lost much sleep over the last few weeks on their latest project at work. Interestingly, though, sleep actually helps to regulate the hormones involved in affecting and controlling a person’s appetite.