You’ve been told it’s important to get sleep since you were a kid. You may even know it’s important but can’t help but skimp on it to finish that series you’re binge watching, taking care of last minute emails, or fidgeting on social media till you get so sleepy you end up snoozing on the couch. It is crucial to your mental and physical health that you get 7.5-8 hours of quality sleep every night.
Why Sleep is Important to Your Mental Health
Miss a few hours of sleep for a day or 2, and you may find yourself cranky, not able to concentrate, or making silly mistakes. Nothing earth shattering, but still impactful if you have a big day ahead of you - a job interview, prep work for an event you’re hosting, that important meeting you’re presenting at. Looking at the long-term effects of poor sleep, you’re at even greater risks:
- Slowed Thought Processing
Your ability to think things through not only takes longer, but the quality is also decreased. This means you’re at a higher risk for misunderstanding people and information, and making poor decisions. It also means your reaction time, and this is especially serious for people who drive a lot, is greatly reduced.
2. Memory Impairment
Sleep helps the brain direct new information to your memory through a process called memory consolidation. When you miss those precious hours, the brain’s nerves can’t synthesize at the same rate. Additionally, lack of sleep contributes to increased beta amyloid deposits in the brain, and this is bad news as these are linked to increasing the risk of dementia.
- Mood Swings
Long term lack of sleep significantly affects your mind’s ability to cope with stress. This can take the form of anxiety and depression. The Mental Health Foundation found that people who didn’t get enough sleep were four times as likely to have relationship problems and three times more likely to be depressed.
Why Sleep is Important to Your Physical Health
We’re hard on our bodies. The strain we put them through on a daily basis requires quality downtime to restore back to baseline. When we sleep, the body goes into “repair mode”, expressing a host of functions such as fighting viruses, healing that scrape on your arm, or growing more facial hair.
- Weakened Immune System
Sleep enhances the delivery of T helper (Th) cells through your body’s system. This is important because T helper cells regulate immune responses. Without sufficient sleep levels, even a small loss can activate inflammation in the body, resulting in autoimmune deficiencies. When this happens, the body isn’t able to fight infection or send out the proper immune responses, resulting in healthy cells being attacked.
- Heightened Risk of Heart Disease
The University of Warwick did a study and they found that getting less than 6 hours of sleep on a consistent basis makes you 48% more likely to die of heart disease and 15% more likely to have a stroke. Without restorative sleep periods, certain chemicals are activated that keep the body from achieving extended periods of low blood pressure and heartrate. Eventually, this can lead to high daytime blood pressure and cardiovascular complications.
- Weight Gain
Within just four days of sleep deprivation, your body’s ability to properly use insulin (the master storage hormone) becomes completely disrupted. An excess in insulin will cause your body to store fat in the wrong place and leads to diabetes. Also, poor sleep increases the body’s stress hormone, cortisol (stress) and ghrelin (hunger). High levels of both these hormones will cause you to eat more but never feel full.
Science is able to prove the functions sleep plays in our biological success and breakdown. We also know how terrible we feel after not getting enough sleep. It’s important to prioritize our sleep for healing and maintaining our health.
One step towards making proper rest a priority, is purchasing a mattress that invokes quality sleep. With our premium airbed sleep systems, you’ll define and set the precise level of support for the optimal level of sleep-inducing comfort. Your body and mind deserve it.