Sleep: The Most Important Thing for Your Health
What is the most important thing you can do for your health?
Well, those things are important. But more and more data is showing that sleep may be one of the most important things you can do for your health.
I've got a whole bunch of info here. So hold on to your pajamas. Because I'm going to cover how sleep helps your brain and body.
Your Brain on Sleep
- Concentration & productivity: Great concentration and productivity require a well-rested brain. Without sleep, your attention span goes down, your reaction times slow, and your productivity diminishes. Together all of those things can put you at serious risk of injury… like a car accident.
- Memory: Lack of sleep also causes neural cells to slow down their absorption of visual information. In other words, your brain cells have a harder time talking to each other. This causes delays in memory and visual perceptions.
- Depression: A lack of sleep increases your chances of developing depression. In young adults, there's a strong connection between insomnia and depression.
- Brain waste disposal: While you sleep, your brain keeps working. Doing the important job of cleaning itself through the disposal of protein clumps. When you're sleep-deprived, that protein can accumulate in the brain, even reaching toxic levels.
- Hormone levels: Many hormones, like serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol are released into the body during sleep, so lack of sleep can throw your hormones into disarray.
- Decision making: Your prefrontal cortex takes a hit when you don't sleep. It's the decision-making part of your brain. So when it's not functioning properly it can cause you to act impulsively.
Your Body on Sleep
- Heart health: Sleep and heart health are attached at the hip. Blood pressure drops during sleep. Giving your heart much-needed rest. When you're sleep deprived you'll maintain higher blood pressure levels. Not good. Puts you at risk for heart disease and strokes.
- Type 2 diabetes: Folks who are constantly getting bad sleep are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The research is compelling. So take warning.
- Weight gain: When you're tired you are way more likely to grab sugary & fatty food. Sleep deprivation increases hunger to make up for your low-level energy.
- Immune system function: By this point you get the picture. The worse your sleep. The worse your immune system functions. Making you more prone to illness. This hits home a little hard. Since we just came out of a pandemic.
So what do you think? Pretty major stuff. Guess mom was right… Early to bed and early to rise is the way to go. One more thing… don't think sleeping longer is better. It's not. It's actually better to have high-quality sleep over high-quantity sleep.