7 Health Benefits of Sleep

sleepNext to air, water, and food, sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies. There has been much research done on the health benefits of sleep, and scientists are learning more and more all the time.

Luckily, sleep has always come easy for me. And I LOVE my bed. Once my head hits the pillow, I’m out for the count. Funny that I’m somewhat of a night-owl and don’t usually want to go to bed. But once I do, I love to sleep, and have no problem getting 8 hours a night.

However, I know many people for whom sleep doesn’t come as easily, and realize that sleep can become more difficult with age. So I’m trying to store up as much as I can for now. ☺

So what are some of the health benefits of sleep, and how can you get a better sleep?

Scientists and doctors recommend that adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Research shows that too little sleep can increases the risk of heart disease, obesity and infections, among other things.

Dr. Michael Twery, a sleep expert at National Institute of Health (NIH) says, sleep affects almost every tissue in our bodies. It affects hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health.”

7 Health Benefits of Sleep

  • Sleep improves memory – your brain consolidates memories and makes them stronger while you sleep. This is a great reason to try to get more sleep as you age.
  • Sleep contributes to a longer life span – People who sleep at least 7 hours a night have an increased life span over those who get less than 5 hours per night.
  • Sleep reduces inflammation – Your body uses sleep to repair and restore most of it’s systems including reducing inflammation. Your brain even gets “washed” with spinal fluid each night as you sleep.
  • Sleep improves athletic performance – A Stanford study on athletes showed those who got 8+ hours of sleep a night improved their sprint time and overall stamina.
  • Sleep improves grades – Studies show that college students who get 7-8 hours of sleep per night had better grades than those who didn’t get enough sleep.
  • Sleep sharpens attention and helps avoid accidents – Lack of sleep can result in ADHD-like symptoms in kids. Sleeplessness also affects reaction time and decision-making. In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported “being tired” accounted for the highest number of fatal single-car crashes (even more than alcohol), due to the driver’s performance.
  • Sleep aids in weight loss – The same section of the brain controls sleep and metabolism. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can mess with your metabolism making you gain and/or retain weight. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that well rested dieters lost more fat (56% of their weight loss) than those who were sleep deprived (who lost more muscle mass.)

These are just a few of the many benefits of sleep. But what do you do if you have trouble falling or staying asleep? I’ll write another post on that soon. But one thing we recently did that makes me love my bed even more is to get a feather-bed topper.

Wow! I can honestly say I’ve slept better in the past month than every in my life. And this from someone who doesn’t have trouble sleeping at all. I highly recommend getting a feather-bed topper for the most comfortable sleep ever. Here is a link to the synthetic feather bed we got. Because we live on a sailboat we didn’t want down, which can be harder to dry if it gets wet. I’m not in anyway affiliated with this product, but I love it more than almost anything I’ve ever bought. Good night, sleep well…

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