Everyone has heard about the importance of a good night’s sleep at some point in their lives. Perhaps it came from your parents, who constantly had to tell you to shut off the television and go to bed when you were a teenager. Or maybe you heard it in health class at school or saw a headline on the news. If you’ve been able to get by just fine after nights with less sleep than is recommended, you might shrug off everything you’ve heard as another health myth.
However, poor sleep can seriously affect your health in a variety of different ways. Let’s dive into why getting a good night’s sleep is so important so that you can prioritize getting the rest you need.
Improves Concentration and Productivitiy
A good night’s sleep can help improve a variety of brain functions, including concentration, cognition, performance, and productivity. If you are among the 45% of Americans who have trouble falling asleep or you tend to stay up late without sleeping in, your brain isn’t getting enough rest. During this rest period, your brain should be able to form new pathways to help you learn and remember information. If the period is cut short, it won’t have enough time to form these important pathways and prepare for the next day.
For this reason, getting good sleep is especially important for children and teenagers. If your kids are sleep-deprived, they may have problems paying attention, learning new things, and getting good grades. Kids may also start displaying behavioral problems when they don’t get the proper amount of sleep. This could take the form of anger and impulsivity, mood swings, sadness and depression, or a lack of motivation.
Improves Athletic Performance
Just as your brain uses the period of rest that sleep provides to recharge your mental functions, your body uses it to recharge your physical functions. A study on basketball players showed that sleeping longer significantly improved their accuracy, speed, and reaction times as well as their mental wellbeing.
Good sleep isn’t just beneficial for the physicality of professional athletes, but for that of the average person as well. When you sleep longer and better, you may find that you have more energy for the physical tasks in your day. If you’re about to do a physically taxing activity, such as moving from one home to another, being well-rested is a must. Even if you’re like the average 30-year-old who has moved six times in their life, you can’t rely on the simple act of repetition to get you through the task. You need to rest your body for days leading up to it to be physically ready.
Being in good physical shape is also important for your work life, even if you don’t have a job that is considered physical. Any workplace holds the possibility of accidents occurring. More than 20,000 workplace slip and fall injuries were reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in just one year in the state of California. While accidents can happen to anyone, being in good physical shape can help you avoid accidents and recover from injuries more quickly if they do occur. By getting a good night’s sleep, you can know that you’re giving your body the tools it needs to be stronger and healthier.
Improves the Immune System
Your body’s immune system also uses sleep to grow stronger. Even just a small loss of sleep can impair the function of your immune system. Research has shown that better sleep quality can help your body fight off infection. Further research is needed for scientists to determine exactly how the mechanisms of sleep impact the immune system, but if you find yourself getting colds often, try getting at least eight hours of sleep every night. This extra rest can help your body fight off the common cold and other viruses trying to enter your body.
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for people of all ages. Make sure that everyone in your family is getting at least eight hours of sleep every night so that they can improve their health in a variety of areas. You may find that with just a couple more hours of sleep each night, everyone in your family is a bit happier.