Sleep is an activity that most of us take for granted, and in our hectic and stressful everyday lives, are often willing to sacrifice most easily. Our forefathers followed a rule wherein they divided their 24-hour day into three parts – 8 hours for sleep, 8 hours for work and 8 hours for our pleasure, health and well-being.
These days however this cycle is not possible as work and entertainment in the form of digital devices and entertainment media have encroached upon our days, and nights
A good night’s rest helps maintain physical and mental health. With sufficient sleep, you can experience the following health benefits:
Healthy Heart - Sleep rejuvenates the circulatory system and helps prevent heart disease. When you get between seven and nine hours’ of sound sleep, it would help to keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control.
Boosts immunity – There is a direct link between sleep and the body’s ability to fight disease and infection
Improves Cognitive Function – Sound sleep improves short and long-term memory, rational thinking and the learning & decision-making processes.
Helps Lower Risk of Obesity – People who sleep well are less likely to being overweight than persons who are sleep deficient.
On the other hand, if you were to sleep less than six hours a day, you could be setting yourself up for several risks such as:
Heart Disease - Lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, further leading to heart disease and stroke. Studies have shown that those who get at least 7 hours of sleep each night (and also eat right and exercise) have a 67 per cent lower chance of getting heart disease.
Diabetes - Lack of sleep, or sleeping too much can cause unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels, eventually leading to diabetes. According to a Japanese study, those who slept 4.5 hours or less, or 8.5 hours or more every night, had higher A1C blood glucose levels than the 6.5-7.4 hour sleepers, and they also had higher BMIs.
Cancer – Some studies have shown that women who did shift work had a 30 per cent higher rate of developing breast cancer than women who worked regular hours. Similarly, men who did shift work were also found to have a higher incidence of developing prostate cancer. The cause of these developments might be linked back to a disruption in the body’s natural circadian rhythms.
It is imperative therefore to include sound and sufficient sleep a critical part of your quest for a healthy life.