Why Sleep is Essential for Good Health and How to Improve It3 min read
Sleep is essential to good health, yet many of us neglect its importance. Unfortunately, this oversight can have devastating results, increasing our risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
Studies have demonstrated the vital role that sleep plays in immune function, metabolism, memory and learning processes, emotional regulation and even cell toxin removal. Here is why sleeping well is important and how you can improve it.
Sleep is a natural process
Sleep is an essential process that your body relies on in order to function optimally, without it, you could become irritable and moody while being more susceptible to health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
Your body enters a state of restful relaxation during which its normal physiological processes begin to slow. Heart rate, breathing rate and muscles relax. Temperature drops.
Stage two of your night, commonly referred to as slow-wave sleep (SWS), accounts for about 25% of total sleeping time.
Sleep is the time when your body can truly rest, during which it repairs itself, regrows tissues, strengthens immunity systems and builds bone and muscle tissue.
Though sleep is undoubtedly crucial, we still know very little about its many roles in our lives. Some experts even speculate that we may never fully comprehend its function – although adequate amounts have been linked with healthier bodies, improved immunity responses and longer lifespans.
It regulates your body’s rhythms
Many essential processes within our bodies – including memory consolidation, healing and metabolic regulation – take place during sleep due to an internal 24-hour body clock known as the circadian rhythm.
These internal rhythms are controlled by small nuclei in your brain known as suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), which are connected with other parts of your brain and regulate your circadian rhythms.
The SCN plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy sleep-wake cycle that fits with natural daylight/dark cycles, along with other organs in the body like heart, lungs and intestines which also regulate their own individual sleep cycles.
Sleep can help keep you focused during the day and can make it easier to complete tasks that require complex thinking or decision-making skills.
It strengthens your immune system
Your immune system is an intricate network of cells and molecules designed to protect you from diseases. It comprises two main categories – innate immunity and adaptive immunity.
Innate immunity is your body’s first line of defense against viruses and infections, consisting of proteins and antibodies which help your immune system recognize harmful bacteria or any foreign invaders that enter through skin pores or enter through body openings.
While sleeping, your body releases immune-enhancing proteins known as cytokines that strengthen and boost its ability to fight diseases while decreasing inflammation.
However, not getting enough sleep can cause your immune system to weaken, potentially leading to health problems like obesity and diabetes.
Good sleep not only benefits your immune system but can also aid focus. Studies show that those who sleep well have better memory retention and learn faster.
It helps you focus
Sleep is one of the cornerstones of health and fitness. It boosts our memory, keeps us physically fit, and supports a strong immune system.
Sleep can also make you more creative and problem-solving savvy. According to studies, the most active stage of REM sleep – known as Rapid Eye Movement or REMS sleep – helps people recall details and connect related memories in unexpected ways.
However, many people struggle with getting enough restful restful restful restful restful restful restful restful restful restful restful restful restful sleep due to various obstacles; such as:
Sleep deprivation or poor quality rest can have detrimental effects on every system in your body, particularly the brain and contribute to serious health problems.