Why is sleep so important?

Most times when you visit a doctor they ask about your sleep. Why Is Sleep Important?

First of all sleeping is when you heal and regenerate. Getting a good nights rest is good for mental and physical health and well being. Kids need sleep in order for growth and development. Not getting enough sleep will effect how you are able to think, react, learn and determine your mood.

When you are sleeping your brain is doing what it needs to get you to regenerate and get you through the next day before you rest and relax again. Different synapses happen during sleep then when you are awake working on your computer or watching television. Your brain and nervous system form new pathways, learn and adapt. This means it needs rest and needs to have the energy to do what you need it to do everyday.

Multiple studies have shown that getting a good night sleep will allow you to learn better. Math problems, playing an instrument, sport or any other task is learned and sleep helps your problem solving skills. It also helps you pay better attention and helps with creativity and decision making.

How does sleep help with physical health?

Sleep is involved with healing and repairing heart and blood vessels. Studies have shown people with less sleep have an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
Hormones are affected by how much sleep you have. You want to keep your hormones even. For example there are hormones that tell you that you are hungry and full. Ghrelin tells you that you are hungry and Leptin tells you that you are full. When you are lacking sleep, Grhelin goes up and Leptin goes down so you will eat more and gain weight.

Insulin levels are also affected by sleep. Decreased sleep elevates your blood sugar level increasing the secretion of insulin increasing risk of diabetes.

Deep sleep helps to secrete Growth Hormone increasing muscle mass.

Your immune system is very important to fight off disease. Lack of sleep will change the way your immune system responds to stress which will highly affect your health Your immune system will change the way it responds to stimuli. Common infections will be hard for the immune system to keep at bay and you will be more susceptible to colds, flus and other antigens.

Most people do not know the risks of lack of sleep. They think they are still functioning at a high capacity when they are not. A good example of this is driving. If sleep deprived, people think they are still able to drive well. Studies have shown that lack of sleep inhibits driving ability as much if not more than driving while intoxicated. It’s estimated that drivers who have not gotten adequate sleep factor in about 100,000 car accidents each year, resulting in about 1,500 deaths.

Driving is not the only activity impacted by lack of sleep. Professions like health care workers, pilots, lawyers, mechanics, assembly line employees can make mistakes at work which can affect themselves and others.

Get a good nights sleep. It is good for metabolism, energy and healing. You will be all the better for it and keep yourself and others safe.