Shuteye. Snoozing. Hitting the hay. Catching Zzzzzs. Whatever you call it, there is no denying that regularly getting 7-9 hours of good quality sleep is absolutely essential for a healthy lifestyle. We all know the value of living a healthy lifestyle, yet research shows that nearly a third of us are chronically sleep deprived. Why? Likely, we just don’t realize how much good sleep truly matters.
Sleep is an important aspect of good physical, mental, and even emotional health-- just as important, in fact, as eating a nutritious diet and getting regular exercise. That certainly provides some perspective! Here are some of the biggest ways that quality sleep improves your health:
Quality sleep is essential for optimal physical health
Sleep is our body's time to enter a state of deep rest and renewal, clearing out the waste of the previous day and getting you ready for the day to come. After a solid night of rest, we're able to wake up refreshed and energized for everything our lives have in store. When we don't get enough sleep, we'll likely wake up groggy and exhausted.
Sleep is also absolutely essential for proper functioning of our organs and body systems. Without enough of it, our risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, diabetes, and even stroke increases. Some research also links sleep with proper hormone balance and weight management. It’s vital for a strong immune system, and supports the body in fighting off infections.
Finally, quality sleep is essential for growth and development. The body releases certain growth hormones during the deeper phases of sleep which support proper growth, muscle mass development, and cellular repair. That’s why sleep is especially important for children and adolescents, athletes, or those recovering from any sort of injury or illness!
Good sleep promotes proper brain functioning
Much like how our body uses sleep to repair itself, our mind does as well. During sleep, our brain is able to clear out any lingering neurotoxins, stone any knowledge or information we receive, and sort through our memories. Without proper sleep, none of this can be accomplished, and we wake up unfocused and dull. Additionally, lack of sleep can seriously decrease your productivity, reaction speed, and knowledge retention (students, listen up!).
Just a single night of poor sleep can have a big impact on your energy levels, problem solving capabilities, and mental processing. Over time they can add up, leading to potential disruptions in your school or work life. 7-9 hours of sleep a night keeps you sharp, alert, and focused.
Sleep helps regulate your emotional well-being
If being a generally happy and calm person is on your list of priorities, getting 7-9 hours of sleep should be, too! Research suggests that more sleep is correlated to better mood, more emotional stability, and general feelings of well-being. On the contrary, sleep deprivation is linked to higher emotional reactivity, a lower tolerance for stress, impaired decision making, and even an increase in anxiety and depression.
Clearly, clocking in enough good quality sleep is vital for our physical, mental, and emotional health, and is worth a top spot on your list of priorities. And if you’re finding that you’re just not comfortable anymore, or are not getting the best sleep you can, it might be time to reevaluate. If you find that you do need a new mattress, visit one of Sleep First’s locations, where our sleep experts will be glad to talk through your needs and guide you towards the best mattress for you. And if you find you're still having trouble, don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about potential undiagnosed sleep disorders. Everyone deserves a good night's rest.