When it comes to health and wellness, most people focus on diet and exercise. These are both super important too, but proper sleep is often on the back burner of the conversation. Quality sleep is incredibly important for your health and can improve many aspects of your life, so let’s look at some of these benefits.
Enhanced Recovery and Athletic Performance
Proper sleep has been shown to increase muscular and neurological function, which means improved speed, strength, reaction time, and mental preparedness. This can enhance your recovery from a hard workout and then prepare you for the next one physically and mentally.
Improved Cognitive Function and Productivity
Sleep has been shown to improve productivity, concentration, and cognition throughout the day. Good sleep will also improve problem-solving skills and enhance memory performance.
However, what might be even more important is the negative impact sleep deprivation has on cognitive function. Lack of sleep will hamper reaction time and concentration. In severe cases, sleep deprivation has been shown to mimic some of the brain functions in a similar way to alcohol intoxication.
Lower Chance of Heart Disease, Stroke, and Depression
Quality sleep can help lower your risk of certain diseases and mental illnesses.
One study conducted by Cappuccio, et all, found that those who sleep for less than 7-8 hours a night may have an increased risk of getting heart disease. Quality sleep can lower your chances of this happening.
Furthermore, poor sleep has been linked to higher rates of depression, and this is particularly prevalent in those with a sleep disorder like insomnia or sleep apnea.
Improve Immune Function and Lower Inflammation
Adequate sleep can help boost immune function to protect your body from things like the common cold. Even short term sleep deprivation has been shown to severely damper immune function. Doctors generally recommend about 8 hours of sleep to ensure proper immune function.
Improved sleep can also decrease long term inflammation build-up within your body. Lack of sleep has also been linked to cell damage, so it’s probably best to maintain a consistent level of high-quality sleep.
Sleep is just as important as nutrition and exercise, and can even help improve performance, cognitive function, and immune function. All that being said, we are human and have a life to live, so it is ok to lose sleep every once in a while. The important part is to acknowledge its importance and work on getting close to 8 hours of sleep every night as much as possible.