Why is Sleep so Important for Your Overall Health?

Why is Sleep so Important for Your Overall Health?

woman sleeping on pillow

To most people sleep is looked upon as that special time for relaxing and shutting down their minds and their bodies. This could not be farther from the truth, since sleep is actually a very active part of our everyday lives.  While sleeping there is a great deal of processing, strengthening, and restoring that occurs. With that said, there are a number of critically important functions that sleep performs that contributes to our overall health and wellbeing.

Vitals Roles of Sleep

To begin, sleep helps us to consolidate and piece together our memories. Throughout our day, the brain accumulates a great deal of varied information which needs to be processed properly and then stored, all of which occurs during our sleep. While sleeping, our thoughts and memories are transformed from a tentative short-term memory phase, to a solid long-term memory phase which helps people to retain information and perform memory tasks at a greater level.  

Long periods of sleep contribute to a rejuvenated body, as well as muscle growth and tissue repair.  Quality sleep time can protect your mental health as well as your physical health, and also contribute to your overall safety and quality of life.  Sleep helps the brain to function properly and prepares your mind and body for the next day ahead. It also helps to improve learning capabilities, enhance problem-solving skills, and helps with attention span, decision making and your ability to be creative. 

Additionally, the proper amount of sleep contributes to the healing process as well as the repair of both heart and blood vessels, and the maintenance of a healthy hormone balance. Sleep also supports and promotes healthy, normal growth and development in children and teens, and boosts muscle mass while contributing to fertility and puberty as well. 

Finally, your immune system is highly dependent upon quality sleep in order for you to remain healthy and fight off bacteria and infections when needed.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deficiency is linked to a number of risks and health issues. For starters, sleep deprivation can contribute to increased heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, stroke and diabetes.  It also plays a role in obesity in individuals of all ages. Ongoing sleep deficiencies cause blood sugar levels to rise, which ultimately results in diabetes and it can certainly affect the way your immune system works and responds.   

Additionally, sleep deprivation can alter brain activities and result in issues with decision making, controlling your emotions, solving problems, behavioral patterns and can affect your ability to handle change. Sadly, excessive sleep deficiencies can contribute to depression, increased risk taking and even suicide.

Sleep Deprivation in Children

When children do not get enough sleep, the consequences can be somewhat dangerous. For starters, a lack of sleep can cause children to have mood swings, feel impulsive and angry, find it difficult to get along with other children, experience a lack of motivation, and even feel overly sad and depressed. They often find it difficult to stay focused and pay attention, which can certainly result in increased stress levels and even in poor school performance and grades.

Proper Amount of Sleep

Healthy, sufficient sleep is critically important for all people. Most adults require 7-8 hours of sleep per evening, infants and one-year old children needing 11-14 hours, children of school age 9-11 hours and teenagers typically between 8 and 10 hours per night. It is important to understand the best sleep patterns and habits are healthy and consistent routines that allow individuals to get the proper amount of sleep needed in order to handle the challenges of everyday life.

A Team of Dedicated Sleep Specialists

Here at Riverside Medical Sleep Center, our dedicated sleep specialists take pride in helping patients who suffer with both simple and complex sleep disorders and strive to provide personalized treatment plans that help to control their disorders and enhance their overall health and wellbeing.  March 13th is World Sleep Day,  if you feel you are suffering with a sleep disorder then now is an ideal time to reach out to our sleep specialists here in Hoboken. For more information on our sleep center or to schedule an appointment, reach out to our team today!