Sleep can seem like a waste of time. Who really wants to spend 7-9 hours of their day seemingly unconscious? However, your brain is actually quite busy during sleep, and this “downtime” plays an essential role in every aspect of your health and wellness.
Luciana Thompson, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC, and the Compass Mental Health & Wellness team in Houston know that quality sleep creates the foundation for optimal physical and mental health. It’s so important, they include sleep analysis in most of their treatment plans.
Are you struggling with insomnia or skimping on sleep each night? Here are five reasons to focus on improving your sleep quality as soon as possible.
1. A stronger heart
People usually don’t think of their hearts when it comes to sleep. But falling short of the seven hour recommendation each day increases your risk of death from heart disease by 13% — and the risks increase as the hours of lost sleep add up. In fact, studies show that people sleeping less than five hours each day have a 61% higher risk of having high blood pressure.
Despite these alarming numbers, you can also have too much of a good thing. Adults getting more than nine hours of sleep also have higher rates of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Our team can offer personalized guidance on how much sleep you should strive to get each night based on your age and health.
2. Improved mental and emotional health
Ever feel like you can’t handle one more social interaction? Have you been more depressed than usual?
Sleep deprivation can make it harder to regulate emotions and interact socially, and it can also increase your chances of having depression. Similarly, having mood disorders like anxiety and depression can also negatively impact your sleep quality.
Believe it or not, even a single night of poor sleep can dramatically affect your mood. So, whether you have a sleep disorder, such as insomnia, a mental health condition like depression, or trouble controlling your anger, getting more quality sleep could improve your symptoms.
3. A healthier body
If you want to stay in optimal health, it’s time to get enough zzzs every night. Sleep deprivation not only impairs immune function, making it more likely you’ll get sick, but it also increases inflammation in the body.
Chronic inflammation has direct links to numerous health conditions, such as:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Certain types of cancer
- Early death
Quality sleep can help keep your body in peak condition. The added bonus? It can also enhance athletic performance by improving your reaction time, motor skills, endurance, muscle strength, and problem-solving skills.
4. Better concentration and productivity
Spending so much time sleeping may seem like a waste, but it can make your waking hours far more productive and safe — at every age.
More than 40% of adults report having daytime sleepiness so severe that it interferes with their daily activities on more than one occasion each month. Another 20% say these problems occur every week or more. Unfortunately, lack of sleep is to blame for at least 100,000 crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 deaths every year.
However, getting quality sleep can enhance memory performance and maximize decision-making and problem-solving skills. This improved brain function can make it easier to perform tasks successfully and faster.
5. Weight loss — and management
Finally, if you’ve been struggling with your waistline, it’s time to rethink your bedtime.
Sleep helps regulate your hormones, including those involved with metabolism and appetite. For example, it’s common to have higher levels of ghrelin and lower levels of leptin in your system when you’re overtired.
You have ghrelin to thank for those hunger pangs, while leptin keeps you feeling full. On top of that, the lack of energy from sleep deprivation often causes cravings for foods that are higher in sugar and fat. And perhaps most obvious of all, sleep deprivation also takes a toll on the motivation to exercise or get physically active.
The bottom line is people who get less than seven hours of quality sleep each night have a 41% higher chance of developing obesity. And it’s a two-way street, because being overweight or obese can also negatively affect your sleep quality, creating a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to change your habits and get quality sleep again. Our team offers effective, holistic treatments that can help you sleep well again.