Waking up feeling refreshed and energized is the beginning of a great day. But what most people don’t realize is that sleep does more than help with fatigue and energy levels. Read more to learn about how sleep affects your overall health!
We all know we should get a good night’s sleep, but what does that actually mean? Studies show that adults should get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. This is enough time to allow your body to cycle through the four stages of sleep multiple times. The last stage, REM sleep (rapid eye movement), is critical for memory consolidation and learning. Each stage of sleep is distinct and has important functions that are crucial to our health and well-being.
A good night’s sleep has a wide range of health benefits.
In addition to keeping you alert and focused, sleep greatly benefits memory and cognition. The different stages of sleep allow your brain to go through important processes that help with learning and memory.
Your body uses sleep as time to repair itself. It uses hormones and proteins to repair tissue and help build muscle. Getting adequate sleep helps your body rest, repair, and grow after a workout.
In addition to repairing tissue and muscle, your body also repairs and grows its immune system. When you’re sleeping, your body builds up the proteins that help fight off viruses.
Alternatively, not getting enough quality sleep can be detrimental. Poor sleep over extended periods of time is linked to developing diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Because so many important processes happen while we are asleep, a lack of sleep can lead to a decrease in many functions that are vital in keeping you healthy.
Many people struggle with falling or staying asleep. There are a few ways to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night. We all know to avoid bright screens and caffeine close to bedtime, but most of us forget how important it is to stick to a routine. Going to sleep at the same time each night, whether it is early or late, helps regulate your circadian rhythm – your body’s internal clock. Once regulated, your body will get used to falling asleep at the same time each day, meaning that you will fall asleep faster and easier. Taking supplements such as melatonin, which naturally occurs in your body, can also help achieve a good night’s sleep.
One of the biggest factors affecting the quality of sleep is mental health. Studies show that people who are experiencing stress or anxiety are significantly less likely to have quality sleep. Talking with a mental health professional can help lessen these feelings which can lead you to getting a better night’s rest.
Quality sleep is an important part of your overall health. Americans rank sleep as a top priority but struggle to get the sleep they need. If you are struggling with sleep, talk to your doctor and mental health psychologist today to discuss ways to help you fall asleep and stay asleep! If you find yourself having trouble sleeping, we recommend you book a General Consultation appointment with Dr. Christina Jones or Dr. Jason Sellers.
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