Getting Good Sleep Makes Good Sense
Getting a good night’s sleep is more than a luxury. It’s vital to maintaining good health and enabling us to function at our best. Here are six important benefits of a good night’s sleep:
- Helps your body fight infection and stay healthy.
- Helps keep your heart healthy by reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.
- Improves memory and helps your brain process new experiences and knowledge.
- Helps control body weight.
- Lowers the risk of diabetes.
- Reduces the occurrence of mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety.
While evidence shows that sleep is important, most people are getting less and less of it. To keep up with longer or nighttime work hours and continual, instant access to entertainment and other activities, we cut back on sleep. A common myth is that people can learn to get by on little sleep (less than six hours a night) with no adverse consequences.
Research suggests, however, that adults need at least 7–8 hours of sleep each night to be well rested. But recent surveys show the average adult now sleeps less than 7 hours a night, and more than one-third of adults report daytime sleepiness so severe that it interferes with work and social functioning.
As many as 70 million Americans may be affected by chronic sleep loss or sleep disorders, at an annual cost of $16 billion in health care expenses and $50 billion in lost productivity.
Sources: National Institutes of Health, American Sleep Foundation.