Sleep is a natural recurring necessity of our body and mind. It is a state in which our body and mind rejuvenate and recharge. When sleeping, our body is in an anabolic state (resting and energizing). During this state our muscles and tissues grow and repair themselves. As a result, we gain muscle mass, lose fat, and improve stamina. Furthermore, our endocrine, skeletal, nervous, and immune systems restore, which along with the previous ones represent vital processes in maintaining mood, memory, and physical and cognitive performance. There is no better way to end a hard day than sleep.
Health reasons why sleep is so important:
- Reducing stress:
A good sleep contributes to relaxed body muscles, relaxed and improved brain activities, and an overall better mood. On the other hand, insufficient sleep leads to a greater amount of cortisol, which is also known as “the stress hormone.”
- Strengthening the immune system:
There is a direct relationship between sleep and immunity. Lack of sleep reduces our immunity and ability to fight illnesses caused by viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Our immune system is designed to protect us from colds and flues. Well, if it is weakened as a result of insufficient sleep, we are more likely to suffer from seasonal influenza and colds.
Even if you have trouble sleeping for only one week, it will negatively affect your mood. If you sleep less than 5 hours a day, there will be stress, anger, sadness, and psychological exhaustion. If the lack of sleep persists for a long period, symptoms of depression develop. The most common form of sleep disorder, insomnia, is directly related to depression. People suffering from insomnia are exposed to a five times higher risk of depression.
- Reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer:
Sleep disorders and chronic insomnia increase the risk of heart disease, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, and high blood pressure.
- Cancer protection:
A good sleep helps in the prevention of cancer. When the immune system of the body is strong, it can fight against serious diseases like cancer. Experts claim that people who work a night shift are at higher risk of breast cancer and colon cancer due to melatonin levels. Exposure to light reduces the level of melatonin, a hormone that is believed to make us drowsy and protects against cancer. Melatonin reduces the growth of tumors. Therefore, it is very important to sleep in a dark room. Almost 90% of people who have insomnia suffer from another health problem.
Consequences of the lack of good sleep:
- Skin aging:
Many celebrities, when asked what is the secret of their beauty, say that it’s sleeping. Of course, their secret is hidden in the expensive care they receive, but there is a great deal of truth in the claim that sleep is an ally of beauty. When the body does not get enough rest and sleep, it creates a greater amount of stress hormone, cortisol. In large quantities cortisol can break down the collagen, which gives it elasticity and tenderness to the skin. Most people who have trouble sleeping have skin without light, swollen eyes and dark circles around the eyes.
- Reduced desire for sex:
Reduced energy, drowsiness and tension that occur due to insufficient sleep contribute to people having reduced desire and interest in sex. Decreased libido occurs in both men and women.
- Inattention and accidents:
Insufficient sleep reduces reaction time, and very often it is the cause of accidents. The tired man reacts slowly, just like the drunkard. People who have trouble sleeping often have injuries and accidents in the workplace.
- Inability to learn and think:
Sleep deficiency negatively affects learning and thinking, as it reduces concentration, sobriety and ability to solve problems. During the night, “memories” are stored, so if you do not sleep enough, you will not be able to remember the things that you have learned during the day.
If you do not sleep enough, do not be surprised when diet and physical activity will not help you improve your shape. The lack of sleep increases appetite, hunger and the desire to consume fatty foods and carbohydrate-rich foods, thus affecting your body weight.
How much sleep do you need?
How much sleep you need depends on many factors, especially on age. Newborns usually sleep most, 16 hours a day. Children in pre-school age should sleep 11 hours, and children attending school – 10. Although teenagers often want to sleep as babies, they have enough sleep for 9 hours. Most adults are well rested and sleepy with 7-8 hours of sleep.