Getting enough sleep is as important to our health as eating a nutritious diet and exercising, say experts at the Sleep Health Foundation. Numerous studies have proven that quality sleep improves our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
"A lack of quality sleep not only affects how we feel during the daytime, but can also exacerbate health issues," said Dr. Matthew Schmidt, who specializes in sleep medicine at Piedmont Healthcare in Georgia, according to CNN.
Here eight benefits from getting your ZZZs:
- Improved mental clarity and function. Dr. Ellen Kamhi, PH.D., says that mental energy is restored during sleep, and too little can damage our ability to plan, solve problems, or learn. "Lack of sleep can even impair your memory and concentration," she said. Since stress is the No. 1 cause of sleep-related issues, get a handle on stress by trying relaxation techniques.
- Helps repair the body. Our cells and tissues repair themselves during the night, which is also the time our bodies manufacture human growth hormone, according to CNN, that helps bone growth.
- Lowers risk for disease. Dr. Meir Kryger, a professor at Yale School of Medicine, told CNN that when people get too much or too little sleep "there appears to be an increase in deaths."
- Reduces stress. According to Science Daily, 30% of American adults get less than six hours of sleep, which can leave them cranky and grumpy the next day. A study from Tel Aviv University showed that just one night of poor-quality sleep increased anxiety and disturbed the regulation of emotions.
- Helps maintain a healthy weight. Kryger said that our hunger hormones become disrupted if we don't get enough sleep, resulting in increased appetite and the potential for weight gain.
- May put more zip into your social life. Nobody wants to be around a grouch, so if a lack of sleep is making you miserable, chances are people around you are staying clear — even farther than the recommended six-foot social distancing.
- Supports mental health. Many studies have demonstated a link between substandard sleep and mental health disorders, according to CNN. Kryger said that quality sleep even improves the treatment protocols for mental illness.
- Reduces pain. A 2019 study revealed that a good night's sleep increases a person's tolerance to pain and should be a treatment consideration in the management of chronic pain.
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