Why is sleep so important for health?

Why is sleep so important for health?

Sleep... We all want more of it. Feeling tired and yawning during the day is one thing, but a chronic lack of sleep can have a major impact on your health. Experts say you should aim for seven to eight hours of shut-eye every night, but what does that actually mean for you?

Sleep boosts the immune system
When your body gets the sleep it needs, your immune cells and proteins get the rest they need to fight against whatever comes their way - like a cold or the flu. And according to well-rested sleep specialists, good sleep can also make vaccines more effective, which is certainly a plus, especially in these times!

Adequate rest helps prevent weight gain
Getting a full eight hours of sleep won't lead to losing weight, but it can help your body keep the pounds off. If you don't get enough sleep, your body produces ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite. Your body also decreases the production of leptin, a hormone that tells you when you're full. Put them together, and it's a dangerous combination for snacking late at night. Plus, if you don't get enough sleep, you'll have more stress and won't have the energy to fight the urge for junk food.

Good sleep = good mood
There's some truth to the old saying, "getting out of bed on the wrong side." It has nothing to do with which side of the bed you get out of, but sleep can lead to a good mood. And really, it's common sense. When you sleep well, you wake up rested. Being rested helps raise your energy level. When your energy is high, the small challenges of life won't affect your day as much. So go to bed early, and everyone around you will be grateful.

Sleep increases productivity
Delaying a good night's sleep can have a negative impact on work or school. Sleep has even been linked to improved concentration and higher cognitive function. But a restless night can make you feel exhausted, making it more likely that you'll make mistakes that a cup of coffee can't fix.

Sleep improves sports performance
The effects of sleep deprivation on elite athletes have been extensively studied. It's been found that sleep has a big impact on sports performance. Recovery under the covers helps with hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and muscle recovery. Additionally, depriving yourself of sleep can negatively affect strength and power.

Enough reasons to create a good nighttime routine to relax your body and mind. Oh, and stop looking at your phone or tablet well before bedtime - those social media notifications will still be there in the morning.

Dream big!