Sleep is a state of decreased bodily activity and conscious awareness of the environment. it occurs not only in humans but is also seen in animals and some plants.
Health Benefits of Good Sleep Hygiene
There are numerous health benefits of good sleep. some are listed below
- Bodyweight control
- Reduced calorie intake
- Optimal concentration and productivity
- Enhanced performance
- Prevention of some medical conditions
- Optimal immune function
- Reduced stress
- Optimal memory
- Good Body Repair and growth
Sleep disturbances and complaints are common in adults and these complaints also accompany many chronic medical and psychiatric conditions.
Sleep is very important for the health and well-being of humans. Some of the health benefits of good sleep are outlined below.
One of the potential health benefits of good sleep is body weight control. Poor sleep is linked to suboptimal control, one might expect from logical reasoning that poor sleep should be linked to weight loss, however, the reverse is the case.
Robust studies across the globe have linked inadequate sleep with increased weight which might lead to being overweight, obesity and other associated illness.
one may wonder why and how poor sleep will lead to weight gain. Studies have not been able to establish a direct causal relationship between sleep and higher body weight.
However, one logical and practical explanation is that poor or inadequate sleep increases the period of wakefulness.
An increased period of wakefulness potentially increases the period of calorie intake which results in weight gain in susceptible individuals because weight gain is caused by an array of factors ranging from genetic to environmental factors.
An average adult sleeps between seven to nine hours a day, depending on whether the individual is a short or long sleeper. Newborns, infants and children generally tend to sleep for longer periods.
These periods of sleep are periods of reduced bodily activity and consequently reduce bodily use of energy.
If this period were to be removed, then mathematically our period of active bodily activity will increase which will increase the body’s need for energy and more energy intake.
This energy intake leads to increased calorie intake and more often than not most people take more than their body needs which creates an imbalance between calorie intake and body energy needs and expenditure.
The net effect of this imbalance is increased weight gain, overweight and obesity. Thus intuitively one of the health benefits of good sleep is reduced calorie intake.
A good night’s sleep is quite refreshing and leads to better concentration and cognition. consequently, poor sleep is associated with poor concentration.
When our concentration is not optimal our ability to focus on a task and get the work done is poor with reduced productivity.
This can lead to suboptimal performance, with an increased risk of mistakes, errors and accidents.
Good sleep leads to energy restoration and improves various bodily functions. This also leads to better performance and proficiency in all spheres of life.
Students who sleep well understand better and perform better in class, and athletes who get adequate sleep are more energetic and thus do better in sports.
Also, individuals who play intellectual games like chess and scrabble need good sleep to play optimally.
Poor sleep is associated with some mental conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression and sleep disorders.
Poor sleep predisposes to some of these mental problems while some mental issues have sleep problems as part of their symptomatology, however, irrespective of the causal role of sleep in these disorders, good sleep can prevent or improve these conditions.
Sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia disorders which result in poor sleep may be associated with some medical conditions such as hypertension which is recalcitrant to medication.
Treating sleep disorders leads to better control of this medical condition. So one of the health benefits of good sleep is good health.
Immune function is simply the body’s ability to fight germs. During sleep, the body restores its depleted resources and refreshes the body.
Several studies have reported that poor sleep or sleep deprivation leads to impaired immune function.
Consequently, individuals who have poor sleep for a prolonged period of time are more susceptible to infection of all types.
Good immune function is one of the numerous health benefits of good sleep.
When we are worked up, tired and stress out the only way to recover is simply to relax, rest and sleep.
After a good sleep or nap, one wakes up you feel a lot better and energised. So stress reduction is one of the health benefits of good sleep.
Poor sleep as stated earlier is associated with poor concentration. This leads to a reduced level of alert which increases the risk of industrial accidents, road traffic accidents and other types of accidents.
Humans have different capacities to learn, acquire knowledge and also remember. The process of learning and remembering is affected by sleep
Good sleep improves learning and memory while poor sleep reduces our ability to learn and remember what was learnt.
Optimal learning ability and memory are some of the health benefits of good sleep.
Different individuals have different sleep needs. children generally have more sleep needs than adults. Irrespective of the individual sleep needs, sleep is important for growth and body repairs.
The health benefits of good sleep are numerous and cannot be overemphasised. Good sleep is needed for growth, optimal health and general well-being.