Why Is Sleep So Important to Our HealthIt’s no surprise to hear that getting plenty of sleep at night is critical to our overall health and wellbeing. But the extent to which sleep can impact a person’s physical and mental health may come as a shock to some people. Experts agree that getting less than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night can have a profound impact on your health (both short and long-term), your mood, your weight, and more. Here are a few reasons why our healthcare providers suggest making sleep a priority:

Sleep Can Lower Your Risk of Serious Health Conditions

There is a confirmed link between a regular lack of sleep and serious health conditions including heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes. This is true for mental health conditions like depression as well. Studies performed by the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that people who don’t get the recommended amount of sleep have a far greater risk of developing these conditions than people who do.

Sleep Can Boost Your Immune System

The NIH performed similar studies to determine the impact of sleep loss on the immune system. What they found was that even a small degree of sleep loss can impair immune function and make a person more vulnerable to common illnesses like colds and the flu. For people who get sick often, making sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night can be very helpful.

Sleep Can Help Prevent Injuries

Accidents that can potentially lead to injuries are far more likely for people who are fatigued due to insufficient sleep. When you’re overtired, the chances of hurting yourself while exercising or performing simple daily activities (including household tasks) may increase significantly.

Sleep Can Help You Manage Your Weight

A lack of sleep can be a contributing factor to weight gain for many people. When you are tired during the day, you will have less energy and motivation to exercise or take the time necessary to make a healthy, homecooked meal. There is a physiological reason as well. The body produces a hormone called leptin responsible for making us feel full when we eat. A lack of sleep can cause a decrease in leptin production, leading to unhealthy overeating that can cause weight gain.

This is merely the tip of the iceberg. Along with regular exercise and proper nutrition, sleep is one of the foundational components of good health for people of all ages. For more information on sleep and health or if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers today, please contact Family Practice Center. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional health tips, news, and so much more.