The Importance of Getting a Good Night's Sleep

The Importance of Getting a Good Night's Sleep

Last update: 12 November, 2018

We all know how important it is to stay physically healthy to be able to enjoy the best quality of life possible. When people want to improve their well-being and live a healthy life, they need to exercise regularly and eat healthy. However, we often forget the third pillar of a healthy life: a good night’s sleep.

No one can live a healthy life without getting enough sleep. Numerous studies show the devastating effects that lack of sleep can have on both the body and the mind.

Why is getting a good night’s sleep so important?

Many people believe that the worst effect of lack of sleep is feeling drowsy throughout the whole day. As this doesn’t seem to be a very serious problem, people don’t mind sleeping less than 8 hours a night. Some people only get up to 5 or 6 hours of sleep every night.

However, not getting a good night’s sleep has more consequences than just physical fatigue. Let’s see what some of these consequences are.

A woman feeling tired.

1. Diminished mental abilities

Several studies have shown a direct relationship between lack of sleep and diminished psychological processes such as intelligence, attention, and memory. These effects can be very harmful, especially for people who are in school or have to perform tasks that require paying lots of attention such as driving or performing a surgery.

On the other hand, since sleep is closely related to the formation of new memories, lack of sleep can keep a person from learning new information. Some studies have even linked not getting a good night’s sleep with degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

2. Health problems

The consequences of not getting a good night’s sleep don’t just stop there. According to many studies, sleeping for only a few hours significantly increases the risk of suffering many diseases. In fact, about 90% of those who suffer from severe insomnia also have some kind of serious health problem.

Here are some of the diseases related to lack of sleep:

  • Heart disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • Cancer.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Stroke.

3. Decreased overall well-being

Even if a person doesn’t suffer from any other health issue due to their lack of sleep, their daily life will be more complicated. Although there are many reasons for this, some of the most important ones are:

  • Not getting a good night’s sleep decreases testosterone levels in men. This causes low energy levels, decreased sexual desire, increased irritability, and higher chances of suffering from depression and anxiety.
  • On the other hand, not getting a good night’s sleep is also related to high cortisol levels. This substance is also known as the “stress hormone” and can also increase the chances of suffering from many other conditions such as obesity.
  • Finally, lack of sleep can increase the chances of suffering from problems such as anxiety and depression. The reason for this is an organic lack of control in the release or production of certain hormones like endorphins.
A sad man.

Optimizing our well-being by getting a good night’s sleep

Now you’re probably wondering what you can do in order to improve your sleep quality. These are some of the most important keys you should follow:

  • Avoid looking at bright screens about an hour before going to sleep. Diverse studies have shown the negative impact that our technological devices’ bright lights have on sleep quality.
  • Get enough sleep. In general, experts recommend a minimum of 6 hours of sleep per day. However, the optimal number of hours of sleep is 8.
  • Respect your sleep cycles. Sleep has different phases. Waking up during some of them will cause us to be well-rested and alert, while doing so in others will leave us feeling exhausted. Do some research on the best ways to wake up. Try to find a good alarm for your phone, one that makes you wake up gradually instead of one that’s so loud that it leaves you feeling annoyed and irritated.

Many studies have shown just how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, they’ve also proven how important good sleep is for children. It helps them learn everything a lot faster and better. Sleep isn’t just for resting the body; it also allows our psychological processes to function at full capacity.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.