Health Benefits of a Good Night’s Rest

So many of us don’t put a priority on getting a good night’s rest. We often sacrifice sleep because of our busy lifestyles. But sleep is an important part of good health, and you’ll actually be more productive during the day if you ensure that you get enough quality rest. Just like food, water and oxygen, your body requires sleep to function properly. Getting enough rest is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.

In general, when you’re sleeping, your body is recharging. New cells grow to replace old ones. As your body rests, it’s regenerating and repairing skin. It’s healing your heart and blood vessels. There are hormonal changes going on that can be thrown off course because of a lack of sleep. Through cellular renewal, a good night’s rest enables the body to reverse free radical damage that happens every day.

Your sleep habits can affect so many aspects of your health. Make sure you get enough quality sleep to stay healthy.

Sleep is vitally important to healthy skin. After a sleepless night, you’ve got dark under-eye circles, bags under your eyes, and overall your skin just looks “tired”. It looks sallow and dull–it’s lost its glow. And that’s after just one or two nights of sleep deprivation. Long-term effects of a lack of sleep on your skin include dryness and more visible wrinkles, caused by poor water balance.

Those dark circles are (mostly) a result of your blood vessels dilating. HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is produced during sleep; it increases the production of collagen while you’re getting your zzzs. Collagen is essential for healthy-looking skin. It helps retain the skin’s elasticity–meaning fewer wrinkles, and increased luster. HGH also affects your metabolism and stimulates tissue growth.

Did you know that your heart’s health is related to how much sleep you get? In fact, heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes are all linked to chronic lack of sleep. Your body needs antioxidants to effectively fight the kinds of inflammation that cause and worsen these conditions. Getting an adequate amount of rest is one way to increase your body’s levels of antioxidants that fight inflammation.

The amount of sleep you get affects your emotional health and your brain’s performance. Sleep can play a big factor in your mood. And it can be a vicious circle–you’re stressed, so you can’t sleep, which makes you more stressed. During the day you’re cranky and you find it hard to pay attention. You feel foggy, and it’s harder to concentrate and access your memory. You’re not as alert, your reaction time is slower, and over time, the conditions can get worse. You’re also more likely to be depressed when you can’t sleep.

Several studies have shown correlations between weight gain and sleep deprivation. There are two reasons why the amount of sleep you get can affect your weight. If you’re tired from lack of sleep, you’re less motivated to be active. Additionally, lack of sleep has been linked to increased hunger. Sleep seems to affect two hormones in the body that control appetite–ghrelin and leptin. Lack of sleep causes the level of gherlin to go up–making you hungry. At the same time, it causes the leptin level to go down–meaning you keep eating after you’re full.

Sleep also affects the regulation of insulin and melatonin, both of which influence your metabolism and how you convert sugars and carbohydrates into fat. A slower metabolism coupled with increased production of fat naturally leads to weight gain. And of course if you’re overweight, you’re susceptible to many health conditions—many of which are exacerbated by a lack of sleep.

You need an adequate amount of sleep to maintain a healthy immune system. Free radicals are produced by many environmental causes. They cause inflammation to the immune system. Without the proper amount of sleep, you’ll be more susceptible to colds and other conditions that need a healthy immune system. Other immune system-related conditions include prematuring aging and shortened lifespan, heart problems, arthritis, and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

During sleep, hormonal activity occurs that benefits so many parts of your body. The rise in growth hormones allows damaged cells to become repaired.
Deceased inflammation is linked to a well-rested body. A balanced nervous system is one of the most important requirements for a strong immune system that can protect you against free radicals.

So try to get a good night’s rest. Keep to a regular sleep schedule, make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet, and avoid caffeine late in the day. You’ll feel better, look better and you’ll reap long-term health benefits.

by Derek