We all need sleep. For something that we spend approximately one-fourth of our lifetime doing, sleep can be hard to understand. Why do we need it so badly? Why does it sometimes evade us? If you’ve ever laid awake in frustration as the hours tick by, dozed off at your desk, or risen multiple times in the night to feed a newborn baby, you may understand: sleep is a little mysterious, and very important!
Studies have shown that the optimal amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours per night. During this time, our body cycles through sleep stages; drifting off, light sleep, deep sleep, and REM. On a typical night, we repeat this cycle approximately four times. As we sleep, our body is hard at work. Let’s look at some of the ways a good night’s sleep supports our overall health:
- Brain Function
A healthy night’s sleep makes it possible for us to perform well in our roles at school, at work, and in daily life. Sleep is vital for “brain plasticity”, meaning our brain’s ability to adapt to input. People who are operating on a healthy amount of sleep are more likely to retain information and recall the same information later in the day.
A compromised sleep schedule = a compromised body. Running for too long on too little sleep results in a weakened immune system, creating opportunities for illness and infection. Often, lack of sleep is correlated with blood pressure issues, migraines, seizures, and symptoms of depression. Getting a solid 7-9 hours of sleep per night is just one way you can support your immune system in fighting off disease!
- Mental Health
Studies show that a person with inadequate sleep is ten times more likely to experience symptoms of depression, and 17 times more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety. Sleep is a powerful player in how we see and process the world around us, and dealing with insomnia or other sleep issues can often lead to improved mental stability.
- Weight Management
If we’re sleeping too little, chances are we are eating too much. Sleep is an integral part of maintaining a healthy body weight, and sleep cycles participate in resetting our bodies. We produce a hormone called melatonin that is associated with sleep. It is stimulated by darkness and cool, cozy temperatures of 60-68 degrees. Good levels of melatonin are shown to stimulate fat loss. Plus, well-rested people are more likely to engage in physical activity throughout the day!
Well, it turns out that “beauty sleep” is more than just a myth! Our skin produces collagen while we sleep, and more collagen results in fewer wrinkles and softer, more vibrant skin. Sticking to a bedtime self-care routine and a healthy amount of sleep will help you to look and feel your best!
It’s clear that sleep is connected in multiple ways to our overall health and well-being. Perhaps you fully understand the necessity of a good night’s sleep, but struggle to feel fully rested in the morning. There are a variety of factors that may be impacting the quality of your sleep, and we can help you get to the bottom of your sleep issues! Make an appointment with our Sleep Center today, and start experiencing restful nights as soon as possible. Contact us today!