May is Better Sleep Month, a time to raise awareness about the benefits of better sleep and how it affects your overall health. While you’re asleep, your body restores itself allowing muscles to repair and get rid of waste. Not getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night can lead to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease and depression. Keep reading to learn more about how sleep impacts your overall health.
When it comes to heart health, adequate sleep is critical to staying healthy. When we sleep, our heart rate and blood pressure go down, allowing our heart and vascular system to rest and repair. When we aren’t getting sufficient sleep or our sleep is interrupted, our blood pressure and heart rate stay elevated.
Lack of sleep can lead to unhealthy weight gain and obesity. Various hormones like ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry, and leptin, which makes you feel full, are regulated during sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep at night, these hormones can become irregular causing you to feel hungrier and overeat. Another reason for weight gain caused by lack of sleep is because you don’t have enough energy to get the exercise you need. On the other hand, obesity can also be the culprit of sleep issues. Extra weight around the neck can cause sleep apnea, temporarily restricting or blocking airflow as you sleep.
Mental health and good sleep go hand in hand. Lack of sleep can affect brain activity, which can affect your mood and cause depression and anxiety. Insomnia is one of the main causes of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. Anxiety and depression can also cause sleep problems, including insomnia or getting too much sleep. Treating anxiety and depression can lead to greater sleep and overall health.
Not getting enough sleep reduces the levels of antibodies, cells and proteins that your body uses to fight off viruses. This can lower your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness and infection. Lack of rest can also increase the time it takes to recover from an illness, because your body is not getting the time it needs to recover.
Tips for Better Sleep
- Stay active and get regular exercise
- Limit blue light exposure in the evening
- Consume caffeine in the morning and don’t eat late
- Reduce the frequency and length of naps
- Stay on a regular sleep schedule
- Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet
Increasing your quality of sleep can increase the quality of your day, maximize productivity and improve overall health. If you have tried many different ways to improve your sleep and still are having trouble, you may have a sleep disorder. If left untreated, these disorders can lead to potentially serious health conditions. If you suspect you have a sleep-related disorder, you can call the Southwoods Sleep Centers at 330-729-9480 to schedule a consultation.