When the alarm clock buzzes and you get yourself out of bed, your first thought is probably not “Did I get enough sleep to help maintain or improve my health?” – but we think it should be! Getting enough sleep has been shown to improve both physical and mental health in a variety of ways.
Before learning about the benefits of getting enough sleep, we want to make sure you know how much sleep you should be getting. On average, adults 18 to 64 years old should be sleeping for 7-9 hours. If you’ve got kids or teenagers, you know that they need even more sleep – anywhere from 11-14 hours for toddlers 1-2 years old to 8-10 hours for teenagers.
Now that you know how much sleep you should be getting to stay healthy, here are five benefits of getting enough sleep:
- It can boost your immune system and help fight off germs.
Especially as we head into cold and flu season, getting enough sleep to allow your body to recover is important in helping to keep you from getting sick. When you get the proper amount of sleep, your immune system can fully function to identify and destroy any harmful bacteria or viruses that enter your body. Sufficient sleep also helps alleviate that worn-out feeling you get from being sick!
- It can help prevent weight gain.
When you don’t get enough sleep, the hormones in your brain that control your appetite get out of balance, which can result in your feeling hungrier, being less motivated to resist the temptation of unhealthy foods, and ultimately less likely to make good decisions. When you’re exhausted, you’re also less likely to want to be physically active. Getting enough sleep helps keep your motivation to be active and eat healthy high.
- It can improve your mood.
Are you “getting up on the right side of the bed”, or are you just getting enough sleep? When you sleep well and long enough, your energy levels improve and you’re more capable of handling challenges that come your way without letting them get you down. It may even improve your outlook on life – we call that a win!
- It can reduce your risk of chronic disease risk
When you consistently don’t get enough sleep, your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and more may increase. Getting enough sleep can make your heart stronger because proper sleep helps keep your stress hormones in check, which helps prevent things like heart disease, high blood pressure, and heart attacks.
- Help your brain function, improve memory, and increase productivity
Think pulling an all-nighter will help you get ahead? Think again. Not getting enough sleep can actually have a negative impact on your productivity at work or school. When you’re well-rested, your ability to concentrate is higher which helps your brain function at a higher level, ultimately improving your mental performance. And did you know your mind is still at work while you’re sleeping? It’s compressing your memories for the day, so getting enough sleep gives those good memories some place to go!
Want to learn some healthy sleep habits to help you get the sleep you need? Check out our 5 Healthy Sleep Habits article here!