Today's blog post is from guest blogger, Natasha Nikolova from Slumber Secrets. This content spoke to me as I am a big nap taker. I value my sleep and my children will tell you - do not wake me if I am napping! Unless there is blood involved!
The question is - how much sleep are you getting? Enjoy the post. Oh, no money exchanged hands for this post. I just wanted to share it. It's good stuff.
Scientists may not entirely agree on why we sleep. According to the Energy Conservation Theory, we sleep to conserve energy, since metabolism is reduced during sleep.
According to restorative theories, we sleep because our bodies need to repair and rejuvenate themselves. Muscle growth, protein synthesis, or growth hormone release all occur during sleep.
Other theories suggest that the brain needs sleep to develop. Anyone who’s raised an infant knows what this means.
It may well be that we sleep for all these reasons. But whatever the specific reason may be, one thing is clear: sleep loss has a negative effect on our health, causing significant damage to our immune system.
Sleep Reduces Stress
When your body is under stress, it produces more stress hormones. During a busy day, these hormones build up in your body. Sleep can help you reduce the level of stress hormones and feel more relaxed.
If you don’t get enough deep sleep, stress levels will stay high and your relationship with those around you may suffer.
Sleep Keeps Your Mind Sharp
Your brain keeps working while you sleep. It doesn’t go on a holiday when you hit the hay. One of the most important things it does is store and organize your memories for faster access and clearing the “trash bin” of useless information accumulated during the day.
Without proper sleep, you’ll have a harder time assimilating new information and accessing “data” that’s already stored in your mind. But if you are well-rested, you can focus on tasks more easily.
Sleep Strengthens Your Immune System
Not getting regular sleep has a harmful effect on your immune system. You may become more susceptible to viral infections and a host of other diseases.
Sleep improves T cells, which are a type of immune cells that kill infected cells. If you sleep enough every night, you’re helping your body to renew and strengthen your immune system.
There are no supplements or pills that can compensate for lost sleep, which makes good sleep all the more important.
Sleep Improves Your Mood
Ever noticed how people who don’t get good sleep tend to be grumpy? That’s not accidental.
A study found that people who sleep for 4.5 hours a night or less are more likely to feel angry or sad. So, even if you don’t have any actual reasons to be angry or sad, losing sleep can trigger these states.
Poor sleep also increases anxiety and the risk of depression.
Sleep Helps You Maintain a Healthy Weight
During sleep, your body regulates the hormones that affect your appetite. This helps to reduce cravings for food. If you sleep well, you are less likely to eat meals at unlikely hours or crave high calorie meals.
A good night’s sleep won’t help you lose weight. But it’s something anyone who wants to lose a few pounds should pay attention to in addition to their diet.
Do You Sleep Enough?
As you can see, sleep isn’t just for the weak. Everyone needs it, whether young or old, in order to stay healthy and sharp and enjoy life to the fullest.
Unfortunately, while most people understand that sleep is healthy, they don’t get enough sleep. Busy schedules, late night work, blue light from screens, anxiety, and a host of other factors affect the duration and quality of their sleep.
In the end, good sleep isn’t something you should struggle for. It should come naturally and be part of a healthy life. Don’t struggle to sleep. Make sure the last hour or two before you go to bed are relaxing and sleep will come to you more easily.
Natasha sleeps about 7–8 hours on average. Maybe a bit more on the weekends. In her free time, she enjoys travel and listening to music. Natasha's writing has been featured on multiple international publications.