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Why Sleep?

by Dayna Belsky, Alvernia University, citizen contributor

Nov 26, 2018
Sleep & Health

According to the National Institutes of Health, adults receive less than seven hours of sleep per night. Have you ever wondered what the consequences of skipping rest are? This article will explore why sleeping is essential and offer tips to help you get a quality nights rest.

Sleep is critical because of the benefits it provides for your body. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders states that getting enough sleep is as necessary as eating and drinking water. Good sleep can improve concentration or productivity. When a person is resting, toxins that build in your brain throughout the day are released. These toxins make you lose focus, so sleep helps to release those negative factors that grow when you are awake. Quality rest can also improve problem-solving and enhance memory performance. This beneficial rest can even maximize athletic performance because of the improved speed, accuracy and reaction times. Along with increased efficiency, valuable sleep enhances your immune function. If you are sick, sleeping at least 8 hours of the night will be very beneficial to your recovery.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults would be better off if they received 7-9 hours of sleep per day. Due to busy schedules and an unpredictable lifestyle, some people do not follow 7-9 hours a night. There are many adverse effects from not receiving the minimum amount of sleep per night. An increased lack of sleep increases the chance of developing disorders including high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and anxiety. Poor sleep leads to weight gain because of an imbalance of appetite hormones which leads to people eating more calories. Sleep restriction also affects metabolism. This lack of sleep can lead to a reduction in insulin sensitivity, which makes your blood sugar numbers fluctuate increasing your risk for Type 2 Diabetes. An inadequate amount of sleep also affects emotions and social interactions. People have trouble recognizing expressions of anger and happiness and struggle with an inability to process emotional information. Another negative towards sleep is depression. According to Healthline newsletter, “90% of people with depression complain about sleep quality.”

Although it is difficult to get a good night’s rest, some tips might help. It is imperative to set a strict schedule, so that the time when you wake up and when you go to bed is consistent. Exercising 20 to 30 minutes a day can help you have a more restful sleep, but not immediately before rest. It is better to work out earlier in the day because exercising at night will keep you aroused. Another tip is to avoid caffeine or nicotine before bed which can keep you up at night. If you can’t fall asleep, don’t lie in bed awake, try some relaxing activities like reading or listening to music until you fall asleep. Try avoiding bright lights or loud noises. Having a tv in the room can be a distraction to your sleep. There are many apps and technology to help you collect data about your rest, which can also be beneficial. Some apps even wake you up when you are in your last stage of sleep, so you don’t get too much.

Life is hectic, but we must leave time in our day for quality sleep. The positive effects of receiving a good rest include improved concentration and performance. When you lack sleep, some negatives such as the risk of diseases and social impairment may result. There are many tips to help get you on the right track for getting a sound sleep such as exercise and setting a schedule. Rest is very critical to live a healthy and balanced life.

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