These days, work and family obligations keep people on the go from early morning until late at night. Sometimes in the middle of the night too! Quite often, you may sacrifice a good night’s sleep in order to get it all done. Unfortunately, you are hurting yourself in the long run, as inadequate sleep negatively affects both your physical and mental wellbeing. Here are a few reasons to prioritize sleep more often!
Strengthen Your Immune System
A good night’s sleep provides needed time for your systems to recharge. While you’re asleep, your body is busy producing cytokines, proteins that boost your immune system. Cytokines help fight infection, reduce inflammation, and even play a part in fighting cancer. At the same time, sleep allows T cells to rest and regenerate. During waking hours, T cells circulate in high levels throughout your bloodstream, ready to attack any invading pathogen that could cause illness. Sleeping allows T cells to retreat and refresh to fight another day.
Improved Mental Health
At least seven hours of undisturbed sleep are necessary for good mental health. That’s because your brain needs time to pass through all stages of the sleep cycle. In the REM (rapid-eye-movement) stage, your brain processes memories and emotions that have accumulated during the day. Lack of REM sleep can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
However, the link between sleep and mental health works both ways; your mental health can interfere with good sleep habits as well. For example, insomnia is a common symptom of depression. Seeking a remedy for insomnia can be an effective step in the overall treatment of depression.
More Physical Energy
After a good night’s sleep, you feel energized and ready for anything. It’s not your imagination. During sleep, your body undergoes restorative processes that build your physical energy and endurance. While in stages of deep sleep, the systems in your body, such as heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and brain activity, start to slow down. Muscles relax, temperature drops, and the body begins to repair itself by regenerating cells and releasing hormones. By the time you awaken the next morning, your body is ready to take on whatever the new day brings.
It may be tempting to extend your daytime hours by skipping a few hours’ sleep, but it’s a bad idea. Making time for sufficient sleep is essential for staying well, both physical and mentally, and for keeping your immune system at its most effective.
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