This guest blog post is by Christianna Kearns, senior administrative director of cardiovascular, pulmonary and sleep medicine services at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System.
Studies show getting enough sleep on a regular basis can improve your overall well-being. The benefits of a good night’s sleep range from better memory to improved performance during physical activity to greater success at managing your weight. Here are some reasons to prioritize getting enough sleep.
It can improve your brain function.
Sleep enhances learning and memory. Getting enough sleep can improve your ability to focus and take in new information. And during sleep your brain processes memories so you can remember them more easily later. A rested brain also helps you think more clearly, which means you can do better in school and at work.
It can boost your mood.
When you sleep, your brain processes your emotions. It needs this time to handle all the interactions that have taken place while awake. This nighttime processing improves both your mood and your ability to respond positively to life’s challenges. You may also find you get along better with other people when well-rested. Lack of sleep can lead to grouchiness and even depression.
Your heart will be healthier.
Your blood pressure and heart rate decrease when you’re asleep, allowing your heart and blood vessels to relax. Without proper sleep, your blood pressure and heart rate get less of a break, and that can lead to increased risk for developing heart disease. Your cardiovascular system needs this time to relax so you don’t feel like you’re in a constant state of stress. Giving your heart a break each night is important for maintaining your heart health.
You can be a better athlete.
Getting enough rest prepares you to perform at your best. Our bodies use sleep time to repair our muscles, helping us avoid injuries. Getting enough sleep also improves your motivation and increases your energy levels. So if you’re increasing your physical activity, running a race or playing sports, make sure you get plenty of good quality sleep. Your body will thank you!
You can fight off germs like a superhero.
Well, not really like a superhero, but better than you can without enough sleep. Your immune system’s job is to destroy bacteria and viruses that could make you sick. When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system is slower to react to invaders, which can lead to being sick more often. Allow yourself the time to sleep and heal and you’ll also feel more energized throughout the day and avoid that worn-out feeling.
It’s easier to maintain a stable weight.
Getting enough sleep allows your brain enough time to produce the hormones that regulate your appetite. When your appetite hormones are out of balance due to lack of sleep, unhealthy foods become much more appealing. This can lead to making poor choices for your health and your waistline. Being well-rested can help you control those cravings and keep the pounds off.
Getting good quality sleep is important to maintain good health. To stay in tip-top shape, the average adult should shoot for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Sweet dreams!
Christianna Kearns is the senior administrative director of cardiovascular, pulmonary and sleep medicine services at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System. She is an avid runner and health enthusiast. In her spare time, she likes to travel, cook healthy meals and go hiking in Monterey with her dog and husband.