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The human body is an intricate and complex machine. After centuries of study, its forms, habits and characteristics are still somewhat a mystery. The phenomenon of sleep is one of these.
The oxford dictionary describes sleep as a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended. Sleep is necessary for nearly all organisms and represents a myriad of health properties. We have illustrated a few of these below.
1. LACK OF SLEEP CAN CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN
Although the amount of sleep necessary is not an exact science and differs from person to person, a lack of sleep in many children and adults largely contributes to weight gain and can lead to obesity.
In a recent study, children with short sleep duration were 89% and adults with short sleep duration were 55% more likely to become obese. Although the exact reason behind this has still not been discovered, scientists largely believe that a lack of sleep makes you more tired and as a result less motivated to eat healthy and exercise. It also creates hormonal imbalances that contribute to the feeling of fatigue and general lethargy.
2. SLEEP INCREASES YOUR BRAIN FUNCTION
A good nights sleep has been linked to increased concentration and brain productivity. Think of your body like a high tech computer. It is the most useful when you recharge the battery and put it on sleep mode so it can fix any bugs and install updates.
Your brain is the same. Sleep is essential to mending and recharging your brain and nervous system. Allowing these parts of your body to recuperate leaves you refreshed and ready once you wake up. A study conducted on medical interns that worked on a fraction of the sleep necessary on a normal schedule made 36% more medical mistakes than when they received at least six to eight hours of sleep a day (the recommended amount of sleep for adults).
3. A LACK OF SLEEP CAN LEAD TO DEPRESSION
Along with the well being of your mind and body, a restful sleep can also keep you emotionally well balanced. An estimated 90% of patients that suffer from depression complain of insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea.
How to combat a lack of sleep? Regular exercise, healthy eating and going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every day are some of the few ways to ensure the 10-14 recommended hours of sleep for a child and the 6-8 hours of recommended sleep for adults are met daily. If you suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea, please seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional to ensure you get the best possible medicine and advice to help get you the sleep and rest that you need to live a balanced, healthy life.
By Health & Food Editor at Vitallea.com