Sleep to your Health

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The Good of a Good Night’s Sleep

sleepBefore the light bulb was invented, the average individual slept for about ten hours a night, and before the frequent use of candles, the average individual slept for about eleven hours a night. Today, the nightly average of sleep has dropped by a third. Many people would probably consider themselves lucky to even get six hours of sleep a night. Consequently, it’s becoming more and more important that we get the most out of the few hours of sleep that we are able to enjoy. A good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining a happy, healthy, and productive lifestyle.

Mood Regulation

You don’t have to do too much research to realize that people are grumpy when they are woken up too early. It’s a near universal trait that humans possess – from preschoolers to seniors. This is because sleep regulates our mood more than we realize. Sleep not only reduces stress and general irritability, but it also decreases anxiety and depression and contributes to greater emotional stability all around. So if you’ve been feeling overly irritable and tense, try sleeping in a little more.

Memory

In addition to improving mood, recent research has proven that sleep is crucial for something called memory consolidation. This process involves the transfer of your short-term memories from your brain’s hippocampus to your cortex, or the outermost layer of your brain. This is important because the hippocampus can only hold so many short-term memories. Therefore, if memory consolidation fails to occur, those short-term memories effectively get deleted and never become long-term memories because they don’t get transferred to the cortex. Thus, the better you sleep, the stronger your memory is.

Weight Loss

Sleep also has an effect on your weight. Dieters who are well rested tend to lose more fat than those who are sleep deprived. Much of this has to do with metabolism, eating habits, and the hormones that control hunger and sleep. Although the body’s metabolism can increase with less sleep, we tend to eat more unhealthily and more frequently when we are awake for longer. Additionally, the same hormones that account for appetite become active when the body is sleep deprived. 

With so much going on in our lives these days, it might not seem realistic to get a good 8-10 hours of sleep a night. At MD Home Health, we’d like to encourage you to at least try out some of these sleep tips for a more restful night of sleep, even if you’re still only getting 5-7 hours a night.