6 ways sleep is important to heath

Daylight saving time is coming up on Sunday, which will leave some losing an hour of sleep. Getting enough sleep is important to our overall health and well-being. In order to get adequate sleep when the time changes, start going to bed a little earlier before the clock springs forward. Get in bed a half hour earlier on Friday, and another half hour earlier on Saturday night to help you feel less tired on Sunday morning. How is sleep important to health?

Weight regulation: Sleep deprivation can cause poor food choices, as our bodies call for carbohydrates to make up for the energy that we’re lacking. Not only can it change our food choices, it also alters the way our bodies store the extra carbs we eat, which can lead to weight gain. Studies have found that losing sleep makes the body less reactive to insulin.

Heart health: Chronic sleep disorders have been linked to higher levels of stress hormones, irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure. Those sleeping less than 6 hours a night are likely to have high cholesterol levels.

Function of immune system: Lack of sleep can alter a body’s ability to fight disease like the common cold and flu. The immune cells that attack tumors also work more effectively with sufficient sleep.

Safety: Excessive tiredness can cause poor judgment, difficulty problem solving and reduced alertness. Mistakes can be made more frequently, causing errors at work and traffic accidents.

Quality of life: Too little sleep can leave you without enough energy to do the activities that really matter, like exercise or spending time with family.

Pain threshold: Multiple studies have shown chronic pain can seem more intense when a sufferer doesn’t get the right amount of sleep.  Getting adequate sleep can help reduce inflammation, which may account for a portion of lessened pain.

While there isn’t one answer that’s true for everyone, researchers say that it’s best to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night. More isn’t always better; after 9 hours other problems can arise. If you are having trouble sleeping or staying asleep you may want to speak with your physician.


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