The Value of Priceless Sleep
The human body is like a complicated machine, and many people seem to forget that. We work and work while forgetting how important recharging by sleep is. Like any machine, our body needs rest every once in a while. While the human body is complex, keeping it healthy is fairly simple. When exhausted or overworked, we don’t need to change oils or parts. All we need is a full cycle of sleep and we’ll be good to go.
Hours Our Body Needs To Sleep
The number of hours our human body needs to sleep varies depending on our age. The National Sleep Foundation has released its recommended sleep ranges for all age groups, and they are as follows:
Newborns (0-3 months) – 14-17 hours
Infants (4-11 months) – 12-15 hours
Toddlers (1-2 years) – 11-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years) – 10-13 hours
School-age children (6-13 years) – 9-11 hours
Teenagers (14-17 years) – 8-10 hours
Young adults (18-25 years) – 7-9 hours
Adults (26-64 years) – 7-9 hours
Older adults (65 and above) – 7-8 hours
Unfortunately, according to a fascinating infographic about sleep, about 50% of people sleep less than 6.4 hours per night. So instead of feeling energetic and revitalized after getting a full session of sleep, they often wake up unrested and unrefreshed.
Benefits Of Sticking To A Sleep Routine
However, completing the recommended sleeping hours is not just about resting your body after a day of studying, playing, working, and others. Getting the recommended hours of sleep also does these things to your body:
Everyone has encountered a cranky worker or schoolmate in the early hours of the morning before. There are a lot of reasons why they could be in such a nasty mood, but they’ll probably say that they had only a few hours of sleep the night before. Getting that 8-11 hour of sleep every night will do wonders for our mood. This, of course, makes us a better company for our friends and family.
It isn’t just about getting your spirits up in the morning, though. Previous studies have revealed that people with insomnia are prone to psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. That being said, sleeping more makes you less susceptible to acquiring these conditions.
Lower Susceptibility to Illnesses
Sleep provides each and every one of our systems with the boost they need to function properly. That means our immune system is getting what it needs as well. Without proper sleep, our bodies will be more prone to harmful bacteria and viruses as our immune cells won’t be able to work properly. They’ll attack at a slower rate, and our immune cells will most likely fail at their job.
When we’re sick, our body needs even more rest. As we continue to sleep, our immune cells are able to fend off the virus or bacteria at a better rate.
Better Thinking Capacity
People who run low on sleep tend to have issues with remembering stuff and even learning new things. Sleep plays a huge role in our learning and memory and as such, the lack thereof will result in poorer thinking capacity. That is primarily one of the reasons why students are always recommended to get the full recommended hours of sleep so that they can absorb more knowledge the following day.
Aside from memorizing and learning, people with low sleep tend to have slower reflexes. While this may seem like a minor consequence for sacrificing sleep, you need reflexes to avoid accidents and unwanted injuries.
People who are well-rested are also less prone to get cravings for food. Brain hormones that control appetite, namely leptin, and ghrelin, will be messed up when the body doesn’t get the rest it deserves. This hormonal imbalance could lead to weight gain, and for those trying to lose weight, they’ll have a harder time going on a diet.
The body may be complicated, but by balancing sleep, diet, and exercise, it will be capable of performing at maximum capacity at all times.
Healthier Cardio-Vascular System
Sleep also affects our cardiovascular system. During the sleeping cycle, our blood pressure goes down significantly. This provides our heart and blood vessels with ample time to rest as well. If our cardiovascular system continues to undergo stress and pressure due to lack of sleep, we’ll be more prone to heart diseases including strokes.
We could go on and on about how keeping our blood pressure up is a bad thing, but all matters of the heart should be taken seriously. Getting 8-11 hours of sleep can save us from a lifetime of heart issues, which are not only hard to cure but are costly as well.
Better Athletic Performance
Sleep deprivation takes a huge toll on our bodies, and these are issues that athletes can’t afford to have. Athletes who have a full night’s sleep will excel and definitely outperform those that are short on rest.
First off, athletes will need good reflexes to compete. Having a good night’s sleep will help them achieve this the following day. Next, since sleep promotes cardiovascular health, athletes who get more rest will have better physical performance as their blood is circulating properly through well-rested vessels. Furthermore, sleep deprivation robs us of the energy we need to become explosive and strong.
A Better And More Fulfilled Life
These things lead to one penultimate benefit, and that is a better life all in all. We tend to put less value in sleep as we have our minds set on doing the most that we can with the little time we have while we are awake. What people tend to overlook is the fact that if we continue to force ourselves into getting those extra hours of work in, we’ll have less time on our hands.
Can We Afford To Skip Sleep?
Sleep is one of the things that we should not skip out on. The allure of a night of partying or endless gaming may sound fun and exciting at first, but the physical and mental consequences it makes on our body is not worth it. As much as possible, we need to make time for proper rest. Its benefits are priceless, and it will definitely lead to a longer and healthier life.