Sufficient sleep is part of a healthy lifestyle. Just like a machine needs down time, your body systems need to take a break from their normal activities to recharge. A new study at England’s University of Surry found that inadequate sleep disrupts gene function in 711 genes. The genes affected by sleep deprivation include genes that regulate circadian rhythms, immune function, inflammation levels, metabolism and stress responses (Source: HuffingtonPost.com).
Certainly, sleep is an essential part of our lives and affects our physical, mental and psychological well-being. Here are some other essential benefits of a good night’s sleep:
- Sleep may prolong your life! Adequate sleep is connected with a longer lifespan. Sleep also affects quality of life because well-rested people live better and more full lives.
- Sleep brings improved concentration and memory. When you sleep, often you will “practice” new activities and skills that you learned during the day. You learn things better after sleeping,
- Sleep prevents inflammation—Inflammation is connected to diseases like strokes, diabetes and heart conditions. People who get less than six hours of sleep per night have higher levels of inflammatory proteins.
- Sleep may help you have a healthy weight—The same part of the brain that controls the metabolism also controls sleep. When you are sleepy, your brain releases chemicals to make you feel hungrier.
- Sleep can reduce stress—Sleep can reduce the amount of stress a person has as well as lower blood pressure. Sleep can also affect cholesterol levels, which can play a part in heart disease.
- Sleep can decrease your chances for depression—Sleep helps us unwind, sort out problems and decrease anxiety. Your emotions will be much more stable when you are getting enough sleep than when you are not.
- Sleep lowers your risk of hypertension—A study at Columbia University found that not getting enough sleep can put you at risk for developing hypertension over a ten-year period.
Often people think that they can just make up for lost sleep by sleeping in on weekends. This is not the case. You need to get adequate sleep during the week to receive the benefits of sufficient sleep. Try to find a healthy balance of work and rest so you can get closer to the seven or eight hour mark for most nights (Source: Health.com).