The Physical and Mental Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep
We all know that sleep is important, but many of us don't get our recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night. The result? A sleep debt that can impact almost every area of our physical and mental health. With adequate sleep, you can reduce inflammation, make it easier to maintain a healthy weight, and improve everything from your mood and productivity levels to your long-term memory and cognitive performance.
Understanding your Sleep Need
It's important to get the right amount of sleep for your age. Below is a guideline to see where you stand:
- Newborns: 16-18 hours a day
- Preschool-Aged Children: 11-12 hours a day
- School-Aged Children: At least 10 hours a day
- Teens: 9-10 hours a day
- Adults: 7-8 hours a day
How to Improve Your Health By Getting Enough Sleep
Even an hour of reduced sleep can have negative effects on your physical and mental health. Firstly, when you don't get enough sleep, your body's immune system is weakened. This makes you more susceptible to illness, and increases your risk of developing conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
The Centers for Disease Control also report that reducing your sleep can drastically decrease the effectiveness of NK cells - natural killer cells that fight off tumors. A reduced ability of these cells has even been associated with cancer mortality.
Sleep and Vaccinations
A good night's sleep can make a big difference when it comes to the effectiveness of your vaccinations. Studies show that several hours of well-timed sleep before a vaccine can increase the overall response to the shot, and may lead to a lower rate of frequency of developing the infection.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring and sleep apnea can be disruptive to your sleep and lead to serious health issues. From the difficulty controlling your weight to the possibility of developing high blood pressure, sleep apnea can cause serious health issues if left untreated. And because sleep apnea can disrupt your motion and breathing during sleep, it can cause an array of physical and psychological problems, such as daytime sleepiness, headaches, cognitive issues, and depression.
If you snore, there are a number of anti-snoring mouthpieces and mouthguards that can help reduce snoring and improve your overall sleep quality. If you need a more advanced sleep apnea treatment, CPAP machines are incredibly effective, and may be the most suitable for certain cases of sleep apnea.
We all understand that sleep is important, but it's easy to overlook what a good night's sleep can do for our physical and mental health. Making sure you get the recommended hours of sleep for your age group, reducing your risk of snoring and sleep apnea, and even getting a few extra hours of sleep the night before a vaccine can help to improve your overall well-being.