Understanding the Benefits of Sleep May Help Motivate You to Get That Rest

Other than feeling more alert and rested in the morning, it seems that many of us don't understand the benefits of sleep. If we did we might not be so quick to short ourselves hours of rest by working late, staying up watching TV or doing a host of things that we think are more important than sleep. Well, here's why sleep may be a good idea after all.

Sleep health benefits extend beyond just feeling better in the morning. Sleep not only recharges our energy levels but actually recharges the body's systems. For example, rest recharges our immune system and helps it to function at its best. A lack of sleep can actually hinder our immune system and make us more susceptible to disease and illness.

When we sleep another of the benefits of sleep is that our body goes into repair mode. It focuses on repairing and building bone, muscle and other tissue as needed by our body. The body is set up to go into a sort of maintenance mode while we sleep that allows it to concentrate on fixing things. Not that our body doesn't do some repair while we're awake, but sleep allows it to concentrate without dividing energy between repair and all the tasks we perform when we're awake.

Mental well being is also one of the sleep health benefits we get from rest. Getting proper, regular sleep helps the mind to unwind, regroup and cope with stress and other issues. When we don't get our rest both body and mind are less able to cope with and adjust to stressors. We are also more prone to developing depression, anxiety and other illnesses. Sleep helps to keep the chemicals in our brain balanced and allows our mind to process out stressful or painful things from our day. We miss out on these sleep health benefits when we don't get our rest.

It is hard to recoup lost rest and get back the benefits of sleep. If we miss a couple hours a night during the work week we can't necessarily just sleep longer on Saturday and expect that we've balanced out our lack of rest from the week. Most likely you will need a little extra sleep for a few nights in a row for your body to feel back on track.

Sleep consists of distinct stages with each stage providing the body with different functions and benefits. It works best when we consistently sleep the number of hours our body needs (typically 7 – 8 for an adult, longer for teens and children). This allows the body and mind to go through all the stages properly several times. If we short ourselves we don't get the full number of cycles and therefore throw of the body. We end up missing the benefits of sleep and have to play catch up eventually or pay the price with illness, lack of performance, etc. Lack of sleep costs America alone billions of dollars in lost productivity, health care and accident related costs …. about as much as stroke or depression. The problem is bigger than many of us realize. Perhaps after reading this you will reconsider shaving off an hour here or there. The cost is probably not worth it.

Source by J Wall

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