The Importance of Getting Enough Sleep

By Alexandra Blockton

We as human beings tend to stay up late at night into the middle of the night. Have we ever thought about how it is affecting our overall health by not being able to get a good night’s rest? Initially, it leads to worse productivity and concentration!

Sleep has been linked to several brain functions, including cognition, productivity and concentration. Cognition is the act or process of knowing, and productivity is the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services. Concentration is the exclusive attention to one object. These are all very important factors of being able to adapt to a normal daily schedule, once we have awakened from a good night’s rest.  

According to Medical News Today, a lack of sleep may affect a person’s desire or ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but it may or may not be a direct contributor to weight gain. Better calorie regulation is associated  with good sleep. When a person does not sleep long enough, it can interfere with their body’s ability to regulate food intake correctly. 

In regards to greater athletic performance, according to the National Sleep Foundation adequate sleep for adults is between seven and nine hours a night, and athletes may benefit from as many as ten hours. Sleep is as important to athletes as consuming enough calories and nutrients. One of the main reasons why is that the body is able to heal while sleeping. As well as, better mental functioning, more energy, better healing, sleep provides and more intense performance,  better coordination and faster speed. 

One risk factor for heart disease is high blood pressure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting adequate rest each night allows the body’s blood pressure to regulate itself. Doing so can reduce the chances of sleep-related conditions such as apnea and promote better overall heart health. 

Many times social and emotional intelligence plays a huge part in maintaining a good night’s rest. For example, one study in the Journal of Sleep Research looked at people’s responses to emotional stimuli. The researchers concluded, similarly to many earlier studies, that a person’s emotional empathy is less when they do not get adequate sleep. 

There is also a link between depression and lack of sleep. The association between sleep and mental health has been the subject of research for a very long time. A study appearing in JAMA psychiatry examines patterns of death by suicide over ten years. It concludes that lack of sleep is a contributing factor to many of these deaths. Another study in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry suggests that people with sleep disorders such as insomnia are likely to show signs of depression.

There is a link between getting adequate sleep and reducing inflammation in the body. For example, a study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology suggests a link between sleep deprivation and inflammatory bowel diseases that affect people’s gastrointestinal tract. The study showed that sleep deprivation can contribute to these diseases and that these diseases, in turn, can contribute to sleep deprivation. 

Sleep helps the body repair, regenerate, and recover. The immune system is no exception to this relationship. Some research shows how better sleep quality can help the body fight off infection! However, scientists still need to do further research into the exact mechanisms of sleep in regards to its impact on the body’s immune system. 

Sleep is vital, and we all need it! Signs of poor sleep quality include walking in the middle of the night and still not feeling rested after an adequate number of hours of sleep. 

Sleep needs vary from person to person, depending on their age. According to the CDC, newborns from 0-3 months old need 14-17 hours of sleep, infants from 4-12 months old need 12-16 hours of sleep, toddlers from 1-2 years old need 11-14 hours of sleep, preschool children from 3-5years old need 10-13 hours of sleep, school-aged children from 6-13 years old need 9-12 hours of sleep, teenagers from 13-18 years old need 8-10 hours of sleep, young adults from 18-60 years old need 7 or more hours of sleep, older adults from 61-64 old need 7-9 hours of sleep and elderly people aged 65 and older need 7-8 hours of sleep.

We can all improve our sleep quality habits by avoiding sleeping when you have had enough sleep, and going to bed around the same time each night. Spending more time outside. As well as, being more active during the day and reducing stress through exercise, therapy, or other means.


About Alexandra Blockton

Alexandra is pursuing an Associate Degree in general studies as a Transfer Student. After Fall 2023, she will transfer to a 4-year university to major in Psychology.
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