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Sleep – Why It’s Important & How to Get It!

 |  General

Sleep is crucial for your health. If you eat a balanced diet, exercise often, and fail to get enough sleep every night, you may end up ruining your efforts to stay healthy. Therefore, it’s essential to prioritize a good night’s sleep.

Importance of Sleep

The body produces cytokines that have immune-boosting effects and fuel white blood cells during sleep. Lack of these proteins leaves your body more prone to viruses and bacteria. Here are reasons why you should make sleep a priority:

1.) Sleep is Restorative

Sleep allows your body to rebuild and repair. When you sleep, your body clears the waste from the lymphatic system, thus boosting your immune system. Some of the essential processes that occur during sleep include:

  • Protein production
  • hormone release
  • Muscle repair
  • Tissue growth

2.) Sleep Reduces Stress

Sleep is a powerful stress reliever. If you get enough sleep regularly, your body relaxes, regulates moods, and enhances judgment for better decision making. People who get enough sleep are better problem solvers and can cope with stress better.

On the other hand, lack of sleep diminishes your mental clarity and reduces your energy. You may be unable to concentrate properly if you fail to get enough sleep. According to research, lack of sleep causes you to be more impulsive, emotionally reactive, and sensitive to negative stimuli.

Lack of sleep significantly affects the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of sleep that controls the processing of memories and emotions. Failing to achieve the benefits of REM directly affects your moods, making you more stressed and irritable.

3.) Sleep Enhances Memory

Sleep allows you to process all the stimuli that go in while awake. This triggers changes in the brain and stimulates the neural connections that create memories. You can access the processed memories during the recall process.

4.) Sleep Helps in Body Weight Maintenance

Losing weight can be a lengthy and challenging process. However, getting enough sleep can help you keep weight off. Lack of sleep affects hormones like Leptin and Ghrelin that regulate appetite and hunger.

What’s worse is that lack of sleep enhances the stimulation of endocannabinoids, a neurotransmitter in our bodies. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the human body that send messages between your nerve cells. With a lack of sleep, your endocannabinoids may make you crave junk food.

5.) Sleep Prevents Diseases

Lack of sleep leaves you more susceptible to diseases since your immune system may not be performing at its peak. A study reveals that individuals who get less than 7 hours of sleep are more likely to develop a cold. Sleep gives your organs time to get rid of waste and replenish, thus avoiding illnesses.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The amount of sleep you need daily changes as you advance through various stages of life. Although sleep is relative from person to person, here is what sleep therapists recommend:

  • Infants aged between 4 months and one year should get 12-16 hours of sleep a day
  • Children aged 1-2 years should sleep 11-14 hours a day
  • Preschoolers aged 3-5 years should get at least 10-13 hours daily
  • School children between 6-12 years should get 9-12 hours a day
  • Teens aged 13-18 should get at least 8 hours a day
  • Adults aged 18 years and above should get 7-8 hours of sleep daily

Who is at Risk for Sleep Deprivation & Deficiency?

Certain groups of people are more likely to be sleep deficient than others. Examples include individuals with:

  • Limited time to rest like caregivers.
  • Schedules that interfere with internal body clocks.
  • Lifestyle choices that affect sleep. They include drug addicts and people who take medicines to stay awake.
  • Undiagnosed medical issues and underlying medical conditions.

Need Help to Get Enough Sleep? Schedule an Appointment with Bayless Integrated Healthcare

Have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting enough sleep each night? Contact our primary care physicians at Bayless Integrated Healthcare today for assistance.