Heuser Health

 

The Importance of Sleep and How it Impacts Your Health

 

For those of you out there who love to sleep, you will enjoy this article because it gives you a reason to continue sleeping! For those of you that don’t get more than four hours of sleep every night, hopefully this gives you a reason to sleep more!

Getting enough quality sleep is incredibly important in maintaining good health throughout your life. Proper sleep can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development. Sleep deprivation can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others. So, as you can imagine, when you deprive your body of sleep, you are putting yourself at risk for a variety of issues in the long term!

Sleeping helps your brain work properly. While you are sleeping, your brain is essentially preparing for the next day. Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning, regardless of the activity! Whether that is studying algebra, working on your golf swing, or how to drive a car, sleep leads to enhanced learning abilities and improved problem-solving skills.

On the flip side, studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.

Sleep also plays a very important role in your physical health. For instance, sleep is involved in healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to increased risk of heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and obesity. Think about that! All the hard work you are putting in at the gym, and just because you had to binge watch another episode of Stranger Things on Netflix your improvements could go to waste!

So, how much sleep should we be getting? The amount of sleep you need varies from person to person and it will change over the course of your life. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that:

  • Infants 4-12 Months: 12-16 hours/day (including Naps)
  • Children Aged 1-2 Years: 11-14 hours/day (including naps)
  • Children aged 3-5 Years: 10-13 hours/day (including naps)
  • Children aged 6-12 Years: 9-12 hours/day
  • Teens aged 13-18 Years: 8-10 hours/day
  • Adults aged 18 Years+: 7-8 hours/day

Other tips that may be able to improve your sleep habits are:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Try to avoid bright artificial light from television or cell phones an hour within bedtime
  • Avoid heavy/large meals within a couple hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed.
  • Avoid caffeine, especially in the afternoon. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 8 hours.
  • Being physically active (working out!!!) throughout the day.

A lot goes into becoming the healthiest version of yourself. Obviously a structured exercise regimen and eating healthy play a big role in that process. Getting a great night of sleep can pay huge dividends in your health. Count those sheep and get to sleep!

Information in this article courtesy of https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency

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