There are fewer worse feelings than waking up and feeling like you did not get enough sleep. You feel fatigued, worked up, irritable, and grumpy. In short, you feel miserable. These effects usually pass with time. However, when this becomes a habit, the consequences are more long-term and severe.
There are many benefits of sleep to the body, and in the same vein, there are many negative effects of lack of sleep in the body. This article will highlight just how important sleep is to the body and tips on getting better sleep.
How much sleep does the body need?
Before we delve into how sleep affects the body, it is only right to know how much sleep the body needs. Many people aren’t getting enough sleep today because they don’t know how much their body needs. I’ve heard people say six hours, some say seven, and some people think ten hours or more of sleep is what their body needs.
Well, there isn’t exactly a fixed amount of sleep for everyone. Children and infants need far more sleep than adults, with infants sleeping up to 14 hours a day. That figure is excessive for adults. According to the NHS, adults need about eight hours of sleep. Some people may need more, and some may need less.
You understand your body better than anyone. You know when you have had enough sleep and when you need more sleep. If you wake up tired and fatigued, there’s a high probability you aren’t getting enough sleep.
Take note, however, that the quality of sleep is more important than the amount of sleep. No interruptions always characterize good quality sleep, and even if there are interruptions, they shouldn’t keep you awake for more than 20 minutes. But frankly speaking, you’ll know when you have a good sleep or nap.
Effects of sleep on the body
Sleep is a very important part of one’s health. Good-quality sleep has many benefits, and in the same vein, poor sleep has some negative effects on the body. This is not to say that you have to sleep eight hours a day every day of the week, no. There may be times where, for some reason, you can’t get the right amount of sleep. This won’t harm you. However, when this becomes a regular occurrence, problems will creep in. Some of the benefits of sleep are:
1. Improves immunity
The body repairs damaged tissues and build new ones when we sleep. A lot of the body’s immune function is also carried out when we sleep, implying that people with poor sleep hygiene may have weaker immune systems. Weaker immune systems mean higher susceptibility to germs and infections.
2. Fosters mood and mental wellbeing
Scientists have unearthed a link between sleep and mood. Insufficient sleep may lead to poor mood, resulting in mental issues, like anxiety and depression.
3. Boosts sex drive
According to studies, people with insufficient sleep, both men and women, have lower sex drives than people with sufficient sleep. Men with sleep apnea, a respiratory problem that interrupts sleep, also have low testosterone levels. Lower testosterone levels can lower sex drive.
4. Useful in watching weight
Insufficient sleep may result in weight gain. According to research, people who sleep more than nine hours a day are 30 percent less likely to be obese than people who sleep less than seven hours a day. This is because sleep may alter the levels of leptin and ghrelin, two hormones that help to control the feeling of hunger and fullness, respectively.
5. Improves physical wellbeing
Sleep affects not only mental health but also physical health. Sufficient sleep can help ward away several health issues. Prolonged sleep deprivation has been linked to higher blood pressure, which raises the risk of many heart conditions. Studies have also shown that people who sleep less than five hours a day are more likely to have type 2 diabetes.
Tips for better sleep
Difficulty in falling asleep or having frequent interruptions during your sleep can be very frustrating. Below are some tips for sleeping better.
1. Remove distractions from your bedroom.
Your TV, computer, or other workstations should not be in your bedroom. You should also make it a habit of not using your phone at least thirty minutes before you go to bed.
2. Make necessary lifestyle changes
Do not take caffeinated and alcoholic beverages close to your bedtime, as they can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. Exercise more during the day, particularly in the evenings. You should also try to eat light before going to bed.
3. Create a relaxing environment
If you’re finding it difficult to sleep at night, creating a relaxing bedroom environment can help a lot. Relaxation techniques, like yoga, aren’t out of place. You can also try reading or listening to music.
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