19 November 2020

Why is Sleep Important?

Do you find yourself nodding off during those long Zoom calls? Or, are you falling asleep while working? Maybe you’re hitting that snooze button non-stop every morning? Perhaps drifting off mid-conversation?

My friend, it appears that you’re feeling the effect of lack of sleep. Well, either that or narcolepsy. There’s not much we can do on the latter as that’s something only trained professionals can help you with.

So, instead, we’ll tackle the former instead — lack of sleep. See, most of us are well aware of the importance of sleep. But, we still aren’t getting enough sleep.

So, perhaps a refresher on why sleep is important would help. That’s why we have here some reasons why sleep is so very vital to you. Once you’re done with the article, you’ll definitely make sure that you have a full eight hours of sleep every night.

Good sleep = better concentration and productivity

We get it: you’re busy, we’re busy, and everyone’s busy. As the youths of today would put it, “ain’t nobody have time for sleep.” Especially not when you have a mountain of work to get through and deadlines to meet.

But, here’s the thing: sleep is necessary to improve brain functions. This includes everything from cognition, concentration, performance, and productivity. Studies after studies have shown that sleep deprivation negatively impacts cognitive functions.

So, you can’t exactly perform all that well if you’re suffering from a lack of sleep. The obvious solution here is, of course, to get enough sleep each night to maximise your brain function.

Woman squeezing her thigh

Poor sleep is often linked to weight gain

Now, the link between lack of sleep and weight gain isn’t exactly clear. Some studies have concluded that there isn’t any link between the two. However, the majority of studies have argued that short sleep duration is linked to obesity and weight gain.

In any case, if you’re trying to lose weight or on a fitness journey, it’s still best to catch an adequate amount of z’s each night. Which brings us to our next point…

Sleep-deprived people tend to eat more calories

It’s true: multiple researchers and scientists have concluded that those suffering from lack of sleep tend to have a bigger appetite and will consume more calories.

Here’s why: lack of sleep is believed to disrupt the normal daily fluctuations in hormones that regulate appetite. For starters, it causes a higher level of ghrelin — a hormone that stimulates appetite — and reduces the levels of leptin — the hormone that suppresses appetite.

So, when you’re not getting sufficient sleep, it will negatively impact your body’s ability to naturally — and correctly — regulate food intake.

Good sleep can enhance athletic performance

Remember when we talked about sleep and fitness journey earlier? Well, it appears that sufficient sleep can improve multiple aspects of athletic and physical performance as well.

In different studies, longer sleep has been shown to significantly improve performance, intensity, speed, accuracy, reaction times, coordination, and mental functioning. We don’t know about you but that certainly is a very impressive list to us. On the other hand, shorter sleep duration has been linked to poor performance.

The National Sleep Foundation suggests that most adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Meanwhile, athletes need up to 10 hours a night to boost performance.

While most of us aren’t professional athletes, we can absolutely still benefit from a long slumber to improve our workouts.

A good night’s sleep lowers the risk of heart disease

Did you know that inadequate rest each night can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke?

Sadly, more than a dozen studies have found that those who are suffering from lack of sleep are far more likely to develop heart disease. This is in comparison to those who sleep at least seven to eight hours each night.

For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting enough sleep each night will help the body’s blood pressure to regulate itself. This, in turn, will minimise the chances of sleep-related conditions as well as promote better overall heart health.

Sleep and mental health are inevitably linked

Mental health and poor sleep have often been linked together and the subject of multiple research for years.

In fact, it has even been estimated that about 90% of people with depression have problems with lack of sleep, difficulty falling asleep, or difficulty staying asleep. Worse, lack of sleep has also been shown to be a contributing factor to death by suicide.

With so much at stake, those few hours of shut-eye and rest are extremely precious, indeed.

The bottom line

Now that you know the many vital health benefits of sleep and rest, it’s time to make good use of this knowledge. So, be sure to head to bed early and get sufficient sleep each night.


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