Sleep plays a crucial role in your overall well-being and its significance extends far beyond simply feeling refreshed each morning. In fact, quality sleep is a cornerstone of health. From bolstering your immune system and supporting cellular repair to enhancing your cognitive function and emotional well-being, the importance of sleep cannot be overstated. Read on to explore the profound impact sleep has on your lifespan.
The Importance of Sleep for Your Immune System
Sleep is not a passive activity; it’s a dynamic state during which your brain and body engage in active processes. While you sleep your nervous system regulates signals and hormones that affect your immune system. These include the activity and reproduction of immune cells and the production of antibodies. In general, sleep deprivation suppresses overall immune function and increases the risk of getting sick.
Chronic Disease May be Prevented by Adequate Sleep
Data shows that there is a modest, yet significant, increase in the risk of having a heart attack after you “spring forward” and lose an hour of sleep post daylight savings time. A lack of sleep is also associated with a higher risk of stroke and cancer. Too little sleep increases the likelihood of developing characteristics associated with metabolic syndrome, like insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes) and weight gain.
Sleep Supports Physical Recovery
Poor sleep also inhibits physical recovery. Growth hormones are typically released during deep sleep. When that’s interrupted, DNA recovery and tissue repair are impaired. This affects all types of recovery, from a sunburn or paper cut to the healing of muscles and bones. Sleep deprivation has also been associated with low testosterone and impaired fertility. In addition, inadequate sleep decreases motivation to exercise.