Most of us don’t give sleep the loving attention that it deserves. We get a few hours when we can, and we use coffee, sweets, and other energy-boosters to make up for our lack of energy. The CDC has even called lack of sleep a “public health problem.” But do you know the real health consequences of walking around like a zombie? Read on to find out why you need to get more sleep.
1. Your Body Can Remove Toxins
When we enter those deep stages of REM sleep, our brain gets the okay to start cleaning out the body. This is the time when the brain tells all the other organs to clean and filter out any toxins or buildup of stuff that could make us sick. Allowing our body to go through this process may help us to prevent disease that’s caused by toxins, like atherosclerosis and even Alzheimer’s.
2. Your Vital Organs Catch a Break
Our lungs, heart, liver, stomach, and kidneys are on a non-stop mission to power our body through the day. We move, eat, and drink constantly throughout the day, which puts a high demand on these organs. Our lungs and heart catch a break when our breathing slows and our pulse rate reduces. Our liver, stomach, and kidneys get to process what’s left of our food from the day and take a wee break before breakfast. Sleeping soundly at night gives these poor body parts a good chance to rest, which keeps them going strong throughout our lives.
3. Your Mind Improves
Lack of sleep causes problems with focusing, concentrating, and remembering things. That’s because nighttime is the right time for our brain to sort through the events of the day and commit items to memory. This is what makes room for our brain to process and remember new information. Without that precious sleep, your poor brain becomes a thought factory that hasn’t had a chance to stop, clean, and repair before a new day’s work.
4. Muscles Can Relax
Just like our organs, our muscles are taxed all day long. Even if we’re just sitting, our muscles are working to keep our body upright. At night, the mattress supports the whole body, and once we’re in a deep sleep, those tired muscles can just let go. In order to get this muscle rest, the body needs to reach REM sleep. During this sleep cycle, our body gets paralyzed for a few minutes to give the muscles a chance to rest and repair.
5. Hormones Help Heal
If you’ve recently got a cut or bruise on your body (a cost of lip injections, for example) you might notice it healing slowly if you’ve been sleep deprived. That’s because your body releases the growth and repair hormones that help with healing during sleep. While you are resting, that cut or bruise is being repaired because your body doesn’t have as many activities to focus on. Also, growth of muscles, bones, and other body parts occurs at night. That’s why sleep is especially important for little ones and teenagers.
Be Sure to Catch More Zzzs
You don’t want to be among the millions who are at risk for diseases like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and even anxiety and depression because of too little sleep. Be sure to get the sleep your body so deserves. Take a look at the National Sleep Foundation’s website to figure out how much sleep you should be getting. Do yourself and your body a favor and sleep on it.