Sleep is essential for both our physical and mental health. From brain function and emotional wellbeing to boosting our immune system and controlling weight, sleep plays a significant part in our day-to-day and long-term health, including the wellness of your musculoskeletal system. So, how does a good night of sleep impact our lives?
Getting a good night of sleep leaves us much more clear-headed and alert the next day. Heavy cognitive activities like learning, problem-solving, and decision-making become much easier. When we don’t get enough, our brain’s performance starts to suffer, causing that “foggy” feeling and leaving us a little slower to react. Chronic sleep loss is even a leading cause of fatal car crashes due to impaired judgment from excessive sleep loss.
Sleep plays a big role in our emotions and behavior. Think about how one bad night’s sleep makes you feel the next day. Many of us end up grumpy, irritable, and have difficulty focusing. Although this may seem negligible to our health, sleeplessness is linked to mood disorders like depression and anxiety. It can also increase, and even contribute to, the development of mood disorders.
Adequate sleep plays a vital role in our immune system’s ability to heal wounds, ward off infections, and protect against chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Those with ongoing sleep deprivation are more susceptible to getting sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. Additionally, they are also at an increased risk for heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
Believe it or not, too much or not enough sleep affects our appetite. Sleep deprivation impacts our body’s ability to regulate appetite hormones, meaning those with poor sleep habits often have bigger appetites and eat more than those who are not sleep deprived.
Although the ideal amount of sleep varies for each individual and is dependent on age, getting enough sleep is essential to your health and well-being. Whenever possible, stick to your sleep schedule, and don’t let work or play get in the way of you and your health!