why is sleep so important

Why is sleep so important?

“Sleep is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing” according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) and adequate sleep is linked to improved immunity, enhanced mental wellbeing, and even weight loss.

Sleep and healing

As we sleep our immune system works to heal and repair the body, in particular by releasing growth hormone for muscle and tissue repair. Ensuring adequate sound restful sleep is essential for restoring, repairing and healing. In fact if we are putting our bodies under significant stress through a heavy workload or intense physical exercise, even more sleep may be needed for our bodies to recover.

Sleep and mental wellbeing

Getting sufficient quality sleep is also essential for our mental wellbeing and without adequate sleep memory, cognitive function and mental performance have all been shown to decline. Recognise that feeling of ”brain fog” and getting through the day on coffee or sugary snacks when you have not had enough sleep or not slept well? Furthermore when people with anxiety and depression were surveyed, results showed that most of them slept for less than six hours a night, so making sure we get enough sleep may enhance mood regulation and wellbeing.

Sleep and weight loss

Sleeping less has also been linked to putting on weight and studies have shown that people who slept for less than seven hours a night had a higher risk of becoming obese. People who are sleep deprived have been shown to have higher levels of ghrelin, the hunger stimulating hormone and reduced levels of leptin the chemical that promotes feelings of fullness and thus may be a key reason why people who sleep less tend to gain more weight.

There are many reasons why we do not get enough sleep including difficulty falling asleep, interrupted sleep due to hormonal imbalances or stress, or quite simply not managing to schedule enough hours sleep.

So, just how much sleep should we be getting? Well, most research studies show that for adults a minimum amount of 7 to 7 ½ hours is required to maintain optimum performance, and that even after a few days of inadequate sleep our bodies are not performing optimally. Ensuring that you are getting 7 hours sound restful sleep may help improve your immunity, mental and physical performance, as well as healthy weight management.

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Reference

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