WHY WE SLEEP

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A good night’s sleep is incredibly important for good health. In fact, it’s just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Unfortunately, our Western environment is not conducive to natural sleep patterns. We are now sleeping less than we did in the past, and sleep quality has decreased as well.

Here are my top 5 reasons sleep is important.

1. GOOD SLEEP CAN IMPROVE CONCENTRATION AND PRODUCTIVITY

Sleep is very important for various aspects of healthy brain function. This includes cognition, concentration, productivity and performance. Various studies find that lack of sleep has an effect similar to that of intoxication. “No officer I’m haven’t been drinking, I’m just tired.” Good sleep, on the other hand has been shown to improve problem solving and enhance memory performance of both children and adults.

2. POOR SLEEP IS LINKED TO DEPRESSION

Mental health issues, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality. It is estimated that over 90% of patients suffering from depression complain about poor sleep quality. Sleep deprivation is even associated with increased risk of death by suicide. Those with sleeping disorders, such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea, also report significantly higher rates of depression than those without.

3. SLEEP AFFECTS EMOTIONS AND SOCIAL INTERACTIONS

Sleep loss reduces our ability to interact socially. A recent study found that people deprived of sleep had a reduced ability to recognize expressions of anger and happiness. Researchers believe that poor sleep affects our ability to recognize important social cues and process emotional information. “Seriously officer I’m not drunk, I’m just really tired”

4. PHYSICAL HEALTH

Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Sleep also supports healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the body to release the hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults.

5. SLEEP AND CREATIVITY

The key to the brains ability to make such good use of downtime is something it shares with your computer. Conscious awareness is able to focus on only one thing at a time, but problems go on getting processed under the cover of deep sleep. There is a time and place for caffeine. But strenuously focusing the minds eye on solving a problem might be ignoring what the unconscious has already figured out. You never know what 99% of your cognition has been up to until you listen. That’s why its sometimes better to take a long walk or warm shower, read a book, or just sleep on it.

In conclusion, good sleep is heavenly. Conversely bad sleep feels horrible. Prioritizing appropriate sleep patterns is the beginning of cultivating a healthy and prosperous life.  

Ron & the VWS Team