Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is not only beneficial for resting your weary bones, but there is a long list of benefits of a good night’s sleep.
Sleep Keeps your Heart Healthy
500,000 Americans die each year from heart attacks, and other heart related diseases. Besides regular exercise and a heart friendly diet, sleep is essential to a healthy heart. When a person consistently has bad sleep, any existing heart condition may get worse, due to inflammation. Inflammation is controlled by the immune system, and when the immune system is compromised and unhealthy, inflammation is not in control, and normal blood flow is restricted leading to an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Sleep Reduces Inflammation
Signs of acute inflammation is an indication that our body is trying to heal itself, and that doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but inflammation is caused by other bodily functions that are not being able to do their jobs properly.
Some diseases that are a due to, and aggravated by chronic inflammation include, but not limited to, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic sinusitis, asthma, tuberculosis and Crohn’s disease.
According to the studies conducted by the researches and scientists at the University of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, they have conclusively deducted that poor sleep habits raises the level of inflammation in a person’s body, and this may elevate the risk of a stroke and/or developing of a heart condition.
In one study, over 500 middle-aged volunteers (both male and female), where asked to fill out questionnaires that focused on their sleep habits (specifically the time spent sleeping, and also their quality of sleep). These same individuals where then tested regarding inflammation markers, and the conclusion is that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that quality of sleep (especially poor quality of sleep), and the length of time a person’s spends sleeping has a direct impact on the levels of inflammation with the body’s systems.
The fact is, a good night’s sleep reduces stress and relaxes the mind, body and soul. What you may not know is that by sleeping and reducing stress, we will have a healthier heart, because inflammation will be kept to a minimum. Risk of diabetes and cancer is also reduces when stress (and in turn, internal inflammation) is reduced.
Sleep May Prevent Cancer
Sadly, there is no magic pill to avoid the cancer bullet, but the good news is that proper sleep may help keep your hormones in balance. When sleep is disrupted on a regular basis your hormones (including melatonin) will get out of sync and the chances that any present cancer cells may progress aggressively is increased.
Melatonin, in particular, suppresses dangerous free radicals in one’s body, and also slows estrogen (a hormones which may activate cancer cells) production. When an individual has little melatonin in their body the ability to fight cancerous cells decreases.
Cortisol is also an important hormone of the immune system that is controlled by good sleep habits. When in balance, Cortisol is another potential powerful weapon against cancer causing cells. Lack of sleep, over a long period of time, may increase the risk of diabetes, due to an imbalance of insulin production.
Sleep keeps our immune system functioning properly, and when sleep is severely disrupted, the immune system cannot identify and destroy dangerous cells that can develop into cancer.
Sleep Reduces Stress
Detoxification is one way that sleep reduces stress. When we are awake and dealing with an excessive stressful situation, the body works overtime, and in the process creates more toxins. This “waste” and excess toxins are eliminated through our skin, lungs and kidneys. During sleep, these organs have a chance to catch up, restore and rebuild themselves.
While we sleep, our muscles have an opportunity to relax from being tensed during stressful times of our day.
Energy is generated in our digestive system, and will work double time to convert glucose into much needed energy to get us through a busy day. During sleep, energy is obviously decreased and our entire digestive system has an opportunity to rest.
While we sleep our skin is rejuvenated, and the dead cells that we lose during the day has a chance to reproduce to keep our skin looking and feeling young. So when we say or hear the phrase “I need some beauty sleep” it is not just an excuse to catch some “Zzzzz” but it a truth we all should live by.
It is obvious that one major benefit of a good night’s sleep is stress reduction, and all the negative side effects that is associated with excessive stress.
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Sleep Improves Memory
Extensive studies have been performed, and will continue to be performed, to determine whatever relationship there is to memory retention and sleep. Although there have been some inconsistencies, and much more research needs to be performed in this area, It has been said that during selective stages of sleep, memory (both declarative and non-declarative) is enhanced.
Of course, we have all heard the saying “practice makes perfect”, but while repetition helps us master a task, and have it imbedded into our memory, something special happens when we sleep to bring our learning process to a higher level.
To rephrase, if you are attempting to learn a new task (where it be a new golf swing or a foreign language) the results will be much more effective after a solid nights rest.
“Sleep and lost weight” is a dream come true for many of us, but on some levels this far-fetched idea does seem to hold some truth. In fact, researchers have made great progress in linking weight control and sleep. We have already discussed the effect that sleep (or lack of it) affects our hormones, which also included ghrelin and leptin (hormones that directly influence our desire to eat).
Simply put, the hormone ghrelin stimulates our appetite, and the hormone leptin notifies the brain when you are full and satisfied. When regular sleep patterns are disrupted, the ghrelin hormone rises (which means you think you feel hungry), and the leptin hormone drops (which means that the signal that you are full never reaches your brain).
When these two hormones are consistently out of balance, due to lack of sleep, it can lead a person to eat excessively, and this will quickly turn into unwanted and harmful weight gain.
An effective and restful nights’ sleep is something that every individual should strive to achieve, because the health benefits of a good night’s sleep are enormous.