Sleep is a crucial component of maintaining good health. However, nearly 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep issues. So whether you’re staying up late to finish up some work, your thoughts are keeping you up at night, or you’re watching some late night TV and lost track of time, you’re far from alone if you have a late bedtime or experience some type of sleep deprivation.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye every night. However, at least 40% of Americans get less than this recommended amount of sleep. And research shows that regularly getting insufficient amounts of sleep could potentially put you at a higher risk of developing a number of health issues.
Below, we listed 5 reasons why it’s important to get an adequate amount of sleep every night and why you should be getting more sleep:
Helps with muscle recovery
Sleep is very crucial for muscle repair and recovery. The two main stages of sleep are REM and non-REM sleep, (otherwise known as “deep sleep”) which is when blood flows at an increased rate to your muscles and tissues, delivering extra amounts of oxygen and nutrients to facilitate healing and growth. And the repeated lack of adequate sleep could increase your chance of injury during exercise, especially if you’re an athlete.
Sleep has been known to improve the ability to learn and recall information. It also plays a major role in forming long-term memories. Memory processing and consolidation occurs during sleep and the lack of sleep can make it more difficult for your brain to absorb and recall this information. And researchers suggest regularly getting inadequate amounts of sleep can put you at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia later in life.
Improves thought processing and mental health
Sleep is closely related to mental and emotional health. Studies showed the consistent lack of adequate sleep can take a severe toll on a person’s psychological state and increase their likelihood of developing mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety. REM-sleep has also been shown to help you better process your emotions and abstract thoughts. It’s also been known to help boost creativity and problem-solving abilities.
Regulates blood sugar levels
Your sleep habits have an effect on your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels naturally fluctuate during your sleep cycle and getting an adequate amount of sleep is crucial for maintaining these levels. Studies showed sleep deprivation can contribute to an increase in obesity and diabetes. And one study showed people who got less than 6 hours of sleep were twice as likely to have cells that were more insulin-resistant or to have full-blown diabetes.
Lowers risk of heart-related issues
Sleep also plays an important role in your heart health. Your blood pressure normally drops during sleep (known as “nocturnal dipping”), however a lack of sleep can disrupt this process and lead to an elevated blood pressure. Regular sleep deprivation can lead to a number of heart-related issues such as hypertension and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart failure.