A good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your physical and mental wellbeing. Some people say adequate sleep is necessary for developing a healthy body. However, working and sleeping late have become normal. And a lifestyle that does not find time for adequate sleep can harbour problems for the future.
Here are some of the important benefits of regular sleep:
- Good sleep can improve concentration and productivity – Good sleep can maximize problem-solving skills and enhance memory
- It can maximize athletic performance – Longer sleep has been shown to improve many aspects of athletic and physical performance
- Good sleepers tend to eat fewer calories – Poor sleep affects hormones that regulate appetite
- Sleep improves immune function – Getting at least 8 hours of sleep can improve your immune function and help fight the common cold
- Sleep affects emotions and social interactions – Sleep deprivation may reduce your social skills and ability to recognize emotional expressions of other people
The bottom line is, you cannot hope to achieve optimal health without taking care of your sleep.
What happens when you are sleep-deprived?
There is a lot that can interfere with sleep patterns. Whatever the causes may be, deprivation of sleep can cause serious problems that affect our lives in broad ways. Some adverse effects of sleep deprivation are:
- Poor sleep is linked to higher body weight – Short sleep duration is associated with an increased risk of weight gain and obesity in both children and adults.
- Poor sleepers have a greater risk of heart disease and strokes – Sleeping less than 7-8 hours per night is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and strokes.
- Sleep affects glucose metabolism and type two diabetes risks – Sleep deprivation can cause prediabetes in healthy adults in as little as six days. Many studies show a strong link between short sleep duration and type 2 diabetes.
- Poor sleep is linked to depression – Poor sleeping patterns are strongly linked to depression, particularly for those with a sleeping disorder.
- Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation – Sleep affects your body’s inflammatory responses. Poor sleep is linked to inflammatory bowel diseases and can increase your risk of disease recurrence.
How much sleep do you need?
In healthy adults, about 13-to-23 percent of your sleep is deep sleep. So if you sleep for 8 hours a night, that’s roughly 62 to 110 minutes. However, as you get older, you require less deep sleep.
During deep sleep, a variety of functions take place in the mind and body:
- Memories are consolidated
- Learning and emotions process
- Physical recovery occurs
- Blood sugar levels and metabolism balance out
- The immune system is energized
- The brain detoxifies
Without deep sleep, these functions cannot take place, and the symptoms of sleep deprivation kick in.
What is REM sleep?
REM sleep is often referred to as stage 5, is when you are most likely to dream. Your first REM cycle of the night begins about 90 minutes after you fall asleep and reoccurs every 90 minutes. Your eyes move around quickly behind your eyelids, and your brainwaves look similar to those of someone awake. Your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure rise to near-waking levels. Your arms and legs become temporarily paralyzed e to prevent you from physically acting out your dreams.
How much REM sleep should you get?
For most adults, during average healthy sleep cycles. REM takes up about 20-to-25 percent of sleep.
There is still a lot of progress that needs to be made to better understand sleep and its effect on our health. But what we already have states that sleep is necessary to develop to keep our body healthy. If you find that you are suffering from sleep deprivation, seek help, make lifestyle and environmental adjustments, and research medications and alternative therapies.