WHY DO WE NEED SLEEP?
Adequate sleep is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle and it is beneficial to the heart, weight, mind, and overall health. During sleep, the body is active and a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs. Hence, the body require long periods of sleep in order to restore and rejuvenate, grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.
HOW MUCH SLEEP DO I NEED?
Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, one-year-olds need about 11 to 14 hours, school age children between 9 and 11, and teenagers between 8 and 10. During these critical periods of growth and learning, younger people need a heavy dose of sleep for optimal development and alertness.
- Heart health: Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening of blood pressure and cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
- Cancer Prevention: melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain during sleep and it has antioxidant properties that help prevent damage to cells that can lead to cancer. Thus, a lack of sleep leads to too little melatonin.
- Stress: lack of sleep stresses up the body and causes it to hyper-perform which may lead to high blood pressure and the production of stress hormones.
- Inflammation: The increase in stress hormones increases the level of inflammation in the body, which increases the risk of heart-related diseases, as well as cancer and diabetes.
- Body Repair: during sleep, the body relaxes and repairs damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays and other harmful exposure.
- Improved memory: during sleep the brain strengthens memories or “practice” skills learned while you were awake (it’s a process called consolidation).
- Longevity: reduced sleep can ultimately affect life expectancy and day-to-day well-being. Better sleep equals longer life span.
- Performance & Productivity: a sleep-deprived person cannot focus attention optimally. Thus good sleep can improve speed, accuracy and productivity.
- Healthy weight: lack of sleep may cause you to gain weight. Dr. Rapoport says. “When you are sleepy, certain hormones go up in your blood, and those same hormones drive appetite.”
- Avoid accidents: lack of sleep has been found to contribute to a number of fatal accidents. Insufficient sleep for just one night can be as detrimental to your driving ability as having an alcoholic drink.
- Depression: adequate sleep increases emotional stability and decreases anxiety or depression.
- Overall health: lack of sleep increases the risk of developing diseases.
- Better sex life: Researchers found evidence that in men, lack of sleep can be associated with lower testosterone levels.