We live in a highly sleep-deprived society. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 3 people in the United States does not get enough sleep regularly. Additionally, the National Sleep Foundation reports that 45 percent of adults in the US admit that insufficient or poor sleep has impacted their daily activities at least once in the previous week. About a third of the people who said they slept the number of hours that doctors recommend reported experiencing poor sleep quality.
How Lack of Sleep Affects the Body
Insufficient or poor sleep has been linked to numerous health issues. People who don’t get enough sleep or have poor sleep quality have a higher risk of developing dangerous health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Over the long term, it has been linked to a shortened lifespan. It may be tempting to forego sleep to have a few extra hours of awake time, but the price is too high. Your body and mind need rest, and when you deny that need, you set in motion the potential for severe impacts on your health.
Sleep is when your body and brain rest and rejuvenate. When you have a night of adequate sleep, you will find more focused and have better mental clarity.
You will also notice increased energy and a better mood. When you don’t give your body the rest it needs, you will feel drained and irritable.
You may also notice that you get sick more often as sleep is directly tied to immune function. One study even found that people who got eight hours of sleep a night were less likely to catch a cold or develop cold symptoms that those who got less than seven hours a night.
Those who got less than seven hours were three times more likely to get sick. There is no denying, that sleep is essential.
Amazing Benefits of Sleep
There is no denying that sleep is vital for a healthier mind and body. This includes quality of sleep. Poor sleep quality can be just as detrimental as not getting enough hours of sleep and can still lead to sleep deprivation. A great deal of research has been done on the effects of sleep and has shown that getting good sleep provides excellent benefits, including:
- Longer life
- Increased production at work
- Enhanced athletic performance
- Less anxiety and depression
- A better outlook on life
- Decreased inflammation
- Healthier spine
- Better pain management
- Improved grades
- Lowered risk of certain health conditions
- Better memory
- Increased creativity
- Reduced chance of auto accidents
- Lower stress level
- Better decision making
- Enhanced attention or focus
Portrait of a Good Night’s Sleep
Adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, preferably uninterrupted, within 24 hours regularly. There is more to a good night’s sleep than quantity. You should be able to fall asleep within about 20 minutes after you lie down and stay asleep.
When you wake, you should feel refreshed and, alert, productive throughout most of the day – although it is normal for a person to notice a temporary decrease in energy and alertness later in the afternoon.
Suppose your family members, friend, or spouse notice any unusual or troubling sleep behaviors such as snoring, restlessness, pauses in breathing, or nightmares. In that case, it could indicate a more significant problem other than interrupted sleep. It is well worth visiting your doctor to get help and remedy the situation because rest is one of your body’s essential needs – and you can’t survive without it.
Be kind to yourself. Developing new sleep habits takes patience and effort, but there has never been a better time to make a fresh start. As we pull out of our pandemic-related quarantines, it’s a great time to review sleeping habits and make the leap to a new normal.
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