7 Health Benefits of Sleep | How Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Can Impact Your Overall Health

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Getting a good night’s sleep is as important for your health as nutrition and exercise. 

Sleep is important because it helps your body repair and be fit for another day. 

Sleep is a vital component of one’s well-being. 

Did you know that getting the right amount of sleep can not only help you feel refreshed in the morning, sleep can have a big impact on your overall health? 

Good sleep is essential.  Some signs of inadequate sleep include:

  • Not feeling rested even after an adequate number of hours of sleep
  • Waking up throughout the night

No matter how old you are, we can all benefit from getting enough sleep.  Some of us wish we had more sleep, but still, many of us do not get adequate amount of sleep every night. 

Experts say that adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.  Below is a chart that shows the recommended amount of sleep you should get as suggested by the CDC based on your age

Age GroupRecommended Hours of Sleep per Day

Newborns (0–3 months): 14–17 hours, including naps
Infants (4–12 months): 12–16 hours, including naps
Toddler (1–2 years): 11–14 hours, including naps
Preschool (3–5 years): 10–13 hours, including naps
School age (6–12 years): 9–12 hours, per 24 hours
Teen (13–18 years): 8–10 hours, per 24 hours
Adult (18–60 years): 7-or more hours per night
Adult (61–64 years): 7–9 hours
Adult (65+ years): 7–8 hours

One thing that I learned a few years back when I was working with a healthy lifestyle program through a medical clinic in my area was how sleep was a major component of what they called the “Health Pie” (I know not the best name for it), but imagine a visual of a pie looking at pieces of it as your whole life and what makes up a healthy lifestyle. Things like eating, sleep, mental health, relationships. Sleep is a vital component of an overall healthy lifestyle. 

Here are 7 benefits of getting the right amount of sleep.

  1. Sleep can help prevent weight gain.  While getting enough sleep might not necessarily help you lose weight, it can help you from gaining it.  Lack of sleep produces a hormone called ghrelin which helps boost your appetite and at the same time decreases the production of Leptin, which is a hormone that lets you know you are full.  These two combined can cause late night snacking and in turn cause weight gain.  Lack of sleep can also lead to added stress to your body, making it more difficult to fight off those late-night cravings. Studies have shown that good sleepers eat fewer calories and that sleep deprivation can disrupt the daily functions in your appetite hormones.
  2. Good sleep can help improve your memory and concentration.  Sleep is important for brain function.  Sleep has been known to help improve problem-solving skills, and enhance memory performance in people of all ages.  Lack of sleep has been known to impair brain function.  A study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry showed that children’s sleep patterns have a direct impact on their behavior and academic performance (Fletcher, 2019).
  3. Good sleep can help increase productivity. A good night’s sleep has been shown to enhance athletic and physical performance.  It is recommended that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep each night just for daytime functioning.
  4. Sleep can help improve your mood.  Sleep loss is actually associated with a reduced ability to interact socially.  Researchers have shown that a person who gets adequate sleep are more likely to recognize other people’s emotions and expressions making it easier in social situations.
  5. Sleep helps reduce inflammation.  Adequate sleep has been known to reduce inflammation in the body while sleep deprivation has been linked to inflammatory bowel disease that affects ones Gastrointestinal Tract.
  6. Sleep helps your immune system.  Sleeping helps your immune system cells get the rest they need to fight off what ever comes its way. 
  7. Sleep is good for your heart. Sleep can help strengthen your heart.  Not getting enough sleep can lead to high blood pressure or even heat attacks due to your body releasing cortisol, a stress hormone that triggers your heart to work harder.  Sleep helps the body’s blood pressure regulate itself.  Just as your immune system needs rest, so does your heart to work and function properly. 

Things you can do to help improve your sleep quality

  • Reduce your stress levels
  • Get into a nightly routine including trying to go to bed at the same time each night.
  • Avoid sleeping in when you have had enough sleep.  Try waking up at the same time each day.

Along with good nutrition and exercise, you cannot achieve optimal health without working on your sleep.  Here are some foods that have been recommended by some dieticians that are good for helping with sleep.

  1. Chamomile or Passion Flower Tea
  2. Almonds
  3. Unsweetened Tart Cherry Juice.

Experts suggest that if you are going to eat or drink these foods that you do at least 2 hours before bed to ensure they do not cause any digestive issues before you fall asleep.

Good sleep is one of the pillars of health.

It is important that you are getting enough sleep each day. 

Ask yourself these questions:

How many hours of sleep do you get a night? Do you have a routine that you do before bed that you have found helpful for getting a good night’s sleep? And do you normally wake up feeling refreshed or not feeling like you got enough sleep?

I was taking a Masterclass recently discussed the importance of scheduling time for your non-negotiables. It came with a Weekly Action Plan to plan out your week hour by hour.

One thing that it brought up was putting down time for sleep. I know for myself; I do not always get an adequate amount of sleep and I am working on improving this aspect of my life. What this Masterclass taught me is the importance of putting down sleep as one of my non-negotiables. I understand there are going to be things that can disrupt that, maybe you are a mom of a little one or even a teenager that needs you at night, but understanding that getting enough sleep is just as important as good nutrition and exercise is something to consider.

By focusing on getting enough sleep at night, you can truly impact your overall well-being.

There are so many benefits to a good night’s sleep. These are just some of them.  But if you find you are having problems sleeping or staying asleep at night, you should consult your doctor. 

Wishing you a restful night of sleep.

References: 

Fletcher, J. (2019, May 31). Why sleep is essential for health. Retrieved from Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325353

How Much Sleep Do I Need? (2021, April 7). Retrieved from CDC.gov website : https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html

Leech, J. M. (2020, February 24). 10 Reasons Why Good Sleep Is Important. Retrieved from Healtline.com website: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-reasons-why-good-sleep-is-important#3.-Good-sleep-can-improve-concentration-and-productivity

The benefits of getting a full night’s sleep. (2021, April 5). Retrieved from SCL Health. org website : https://www.sclhealth.org/blog/2018/09/the-benefits-of-getting-a-full-night-sleep/

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