Most of us have heard of the saying that sleep is the best medicine. However, is it true? This article discusses the various benefits of sleep, hence why it is considered the best medicine.
Waking up after getting a good night's rest feels magical. You feel energetic, and you can focus clearly. However, getting a night of less sleep feels the opposite. You tend to wake up feeling exhausted and dizzy too. Adults are required to sleep for around seven to nine hours a day. However, some sleep up to four hours since they have had a long day, which is unhealthy. It would be best never to deprive yourself of sleep since sleep is important to our bodies. Sleep helps our emotional, mental, and even physical health.
Reasons Why Sleep Is Important
Sleep affects not only our physical health but also our overall health. It can manifest in physical appearance when a person does not get enough sleep. According to Howard et al. (2014), some signs of lack of sleep in bodies include eye bags and puffs.
Lack of sleep also makes us feel fatigued and reduces our energy too. Grier et al. (2020) suggested that lack of sleep can also deteriorate your immune system, cause anxiety and stress, and increase your blood pressure.
Why Sleep Is Considered the Best Medicine
Sleep Lowers the Risk of Serious Health Problems
Sleep enables the body to heal and restores itself. The body, the heart, and blood vessels heal as a person sleeps. However, lack of sleep causes the opposite.
Chaput et al. (2016) suggested that due to lack of sleep, a person may encounter health problems such as:
High blood pressure
Mental health illness
The amount of sleep the body gets also affects the body's reaction to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Sleep deprivation increases blood sugar levels, making a person prone to diabetes.
Sleep Keeps Other Illnesses and Chronic Pain to Be At Bay
The immune system requires good sleep to work properly. Less sleep makes the immune system weak, which makes it unable to protect the body from common infections such as cold and flu.
Lack of sleep can also make your body respond poorly to vaccines. That is why it is important that before you get your vaccine, a person has had a good rest the night before to prepare the body.
Van Hecke et al. (2019) stated that enough sleep could aid in relieving chronic pain. When one sleeps, a phase known as non-rapid eye movement goes on. This phase increases the blood flow toward the muscles, allowing the tissues to grow and repair themselves. It helps in reducing some specific forms of chronic pain.
Sleeps Helps You Maintain A Healthy Weight.
Maintaining a healthy weight not only requires a healthy diet and constant exercise, but it also requires you to get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep reduces your chances of being obese. According to Vargas et al.(2014), individuals who get less than seven hours of sleep are likely to have a higher BMI(body mass index), leading to obesity compared to those who get the required hours of sleep.
One of the reasons is that sleep affects hormonal levels. Lack of sleep increases the hormones responsible for hunger, and the hormones that make a person feel full decrease. It will then make a person eat aimlessly after waking up since you will be hungrier.
Sleep Boost Your Mood
Some people are always cranky when they do not get enough rest. Rosen et al. (2006) suggested that sleep makes the brains function well, preparing a person to conquer the following day. A person is likely to experience the following if they don't get enough sleep:
Anxiety and stress
You find it hard to control the emotions
Sleep Aids in Avoiding Accidents and Injuries
Most of the activities people do during the day require them to have gotten enough sleep. For example, a person cannot drive a car while tired since they may cause an accident. Lack of sleep can make someone do various mistakes since your body is tired.
Getting enough rest will also help in protecting other people. For example, if you are a healthcare worker or a pilot, you need full concentration to carry on with your work. However, if you are not well-rested, it isn't easy to perform your duties properly, which may affect other people too.
Steps on How You Can Improve Your Sleep
you should question why that happens if you find yourself getting less sleep. It would help if you prioritized sleep since it boosts your well-being. Below are some ways in which you can improve your sleep:
Creating a conducive environment for sleep. You can ensure that your bedroom is quiet and dark before bed.
Reducing your caffeine intake in the morning
Avoiding nicotine completely
It would be best if you also avoid alcoholic drinks and heavy meals before bed.
Limiting your screen time before bedtime
You should consider talking to your doctor if you still find it difficult to get enough rest. Your doctor will tell you why you have trouble sleeping and will provide you with ways to improve your sleep. You might have sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome and are not area. However, your doctor will help you since he can treat these sleep disorders.
Sleep plays an important role in our lives and well-being. It is the best medicine for almost all health problems. Getting the required amount of sleep prepares our body and mind for the next day and keeps us alert. Just like lack of sleep, oversleeping is dangerous too. Oversleeping can lead to conditions such as headaches and diabetes. Consider taking little steps to improve the quality of your sleep. A night of good sleep will make you stronger, healthier, and, most importantly, happier. You should consider seeing your doctor if you still find it difficult to sleep after doing the above steps. You may be suffering from a sleep condition that you are unaware of. Your doctor will then provide sleeping pills to help your sleep condition. Never administer yourself sleeping pills before consulting with your doctor.
Chaput, J. P., & Dutil, C. (2016). Lack Of Sleep Contributes To Obesity In Adolescents And Impacts Eating And Activity Behaviors. International Journal Of Behavioral Nutrition And Physical Activity, 13(1), 1-9.
Grier, T., Dinkeloo, E., Reynolds, M., & Jones, B. H. (2020). Sleep Duration And Musculoskeletal Injury Incidence In Physically Active Men And Women: A Study Of US Army Special Operation Forces Soldiers. Sleep Health, 6(3), 344-349.
Howard, M. E., Jackson, M. L., Berlowitz, D., O'Donoghue, F., Swann, P., Westlake, J., ... & Pierce, R. J. (2014). Specific Sleepiness Symptoms Are Indicators Of Performance Impairment During Sleep Deprivation. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 62, 1-8.
Rosen, I. M., Gimotty, P. A., Shea, J. A., & Bellini, L. M. (2006). Evolution Of Sleep Quantity, Sleep Deprivation, Mood Disturbances, Empathy, And Burnout Among Interns. Academic Medicine, 81(1), 82-85.
Vargas, P. A., Flores, M., & Robles, E. (2014). Sleep Quality And Body Mass Index In College Students: The Role Of Sleep Disturbances. Journal Of American College Health, 62(8), 534-541.
Van Hecke, O., Torrance, N., & Smith, B. H. (2013). Chronic Pain Epidemiology And Its Clinical Relevance. British Journal Of Anesthesia, 111(1), 13-18.