The Critical Importance of Sleep – What the Science Shows
Sleep is one of the necessities of human life. According to a variety of scientific reviews and studies, sleep is one of the most important needs a person has. Without quality sleep, it’s difficult for a person to feel and perform at their very best.
Think about these scientific discoveries that show why sleep is so important to understand how important it is.
Scientific Point 1: Not getting enough sleep makes you more likely to develop serious health problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Medical experts at Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine say there are direct links between not getting enough sleep and having serious health problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
“Many of the costs of poor sleep go unnoticed.” Dr. Ann E. Rogers of the Division of Sleep Medicine says, “Health problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease take a long time to develop and are caused by many things, such as genetics, bad diet, and lack of exercise.”
This is why bad sleeping habits are so sneaky: over time, they add up with other health risks to create health risks that could be life-threatening. Often, their effects go unnoticed until the person is experiencing a serious health problem.
Scientific Point 2: A lack of quality sleep can be just as damaging to a person’s health as a lack of nutrition or exercise.
The National Institutes of Health has put sleep on the same level as nutrition and exercise because they know how important it is. Getting regular exercise and eating well are common ways people chase after good health but getting a good night’s sleep isn’t typically mentioned in the same regard.
According to the medical scientists at the National Institutes of Health, getting a good night’s sleep regularly does more than bolster your physical health — it also improves your overall mood and emotional health as well.
When people aren’t getting restful, quality sleep, they aren’t getting the time needed for their bodies to relax, rest, and repair themselves. Over time, this can cause serious damage to their overall health.
Even a couple of nights of poor-quality sleep can lead to noticeable cognitive dysfunction.
Dr. Samuel Hurevich of the Cleveland Clinic says that even a few nights of bad sleep can have a noticeable effect on a person’s ability to think.
Dr. Hurevich explains that sleep time and awake time are equally important, though people tend to place far more emphasis on their “awake” time by staying up far too late. Without sleep, being awake is noticeably more difficult. Even one night of poor sleep can lead to noticeable issues the next day, including…
- Irritability or mood swings
- Daytime sleepiness or drowsiness
- A slower reaction times
- Issues with memory
- Issues paying attention
- Issues focusing on tasks
- Symptoms of anxiety and/or depression
- An increase in the release of stress hormones in the body
While all of these effects are negative, the final point can lead to bigger problems down the road if a person regularly struggles to get enough sleep. If a person doesn’t get enough good quality sleep for a long time, the constant release of stress hormones can put a lot of strain on their cardiovascular system. This can lead to heart disease and other circulatory problems.