A good night’s sleep is vital for both your physical and mental health. In fact, quality sleep is as important a factor in your wellbeing as a healthy diet and frequent exercise. Often when life gets busy we neglect the importance of sleep and choose to prioritize other things such as work or our social lives. While sometimes interference with sleeping patterns can be inevitable, it is worth actively trying to keep a consistent sleep schedule for your overall well-being.
Here are 4 reasons why good sleep is important.
- Good Sleep Improves Cognitive Functions
Good quality sleep improves several areas associated with brain function, including cognition, focus, performance, and productivity. It will come as no surprise that with poor sleep your concentration levels will suffer, so if you are going to work or to school on not enough sleep you are going to struggle to retain any information as your brain does not have the cognitive strength to process information. There is a vast amount of research on the topic and a study conducted on medical interns demonstrates the importance of sleep. The interns who had to work extended periods of more than 24 hours made 36% more severe medical mistakes than the interns who were on a schedule that allowed them to sleep more.
Other studies have found that reduced amounts of sleep can have a similar effect on brain function as alcohol intoxication does.
Ultimately, getting a good night’s sleep is going to help your problem-solving abilities and enhance your general cognitive performance.
- Good Sleep Strengthens The Immune System
This point might come as a surprise to some of you, as a lot of people are not aware of the impact that sleep has on the immune system. Even a slight reduction in sleep quality can lead to an impairment in the immune system functioning. A large-scale study has demonstrated the effects of sleep on the immune system as they found that individuals who slept less than 7 hours were 3x more susceptible to developing a cold than those who were sleeping for 8 hours plus. If you are someone who gets colds and flu regularly you can strengthen your immune system by making sure you are getting enough sleep. This is especially important in our current climate, as the world is still plagued by the presence of Coronavirus. So stay strong and healthy and ensure that you are getting the sleep your body needs.
- Poor Sleep Is Linked To Depression And Anxiety
Sleep plays a vital role in your mental well-being, and research has shown that mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are much more likely to arise when people are either not sleeping enough or suffer from sleeping disorders. If you are someone who suffers from insomnia, this can be debilitating at times as your sleep quality can feel out of your control. To help reduce the effects of insomnia, consider using health conscious mattresses and new, more supportive pillows to create greater comfort overall when you get into bed. Additionally, consider upping your physical activity during the day and controlling the temperature of your bedroom to help you fall asleep easier at night.
Do not underestimate the impact that sleep has on your mental health, as it has been estimated that 90% of people who suffer from depression also struggle to achieve good quality sleep.
- Poor Sleep Leads To A Greater Risk Of Health Complications
Poor quality sleep and shorter periods of sleep are known to impact your physical health and increase your risk of experiencing health complications. Those who are not getting enough sleep will be more susceptible to heart diseases and strokes, as opposed to those who are getting between 7-8 hours of sleep a night. So if you have a history of heart disease or strokes in your family, it will only benefit you to make sleep a priority.
Another area that sleep can affect is the levels of inflammation in your body. Low-quality sleep has been linked to increased inflammation and cell damage. For example, one study found that individuals with Crohn’s disease who were not getting enough sleep were twice as likely to relapse compared to individuals who achieved more quality sleep. This may seem like an unusual link, but it has vast amounts of research that demonstrate the importance of sleep on your physical health.
Overall, sleep is essential in your overall health, and you cannot achieve your prime level of health without making sure you are getting enough quality sleep.