The Importance of Sleep

Today we will review some of the benefits of sleeping adequately, in quality and quantity, as well as some of the risks of not doing so.   

Though there are many aspects of sleep that are still unknown, many studies show that not sleeping enough during the night causes greater risk of illness.  

Among the health problems that could result from this are weight gain and obesity.  One of the reasons is that the body is not at its best capacity to efficiently use the energy from the food we eat, so it stores it in the form of fat.  Obesity may lead to diabetes, which may contribute to more health problems.

Our heart and circulatory system are also affected when we do not sleep well.  There is a higher risk of arteries becoming clogged, including those that take oxygen to the heart itself.  As a result, blood pressure rises.  Both situations cause our heart to make a greater effort to pump blood to the body.  If this goes on for a long time, our heart may become ill.  High blood pressure increases the risk of bleeding in the brain, which can be a serious situation.  Life depends on our heart, because our brain and organs require the oxygen it delivers to them.

The human body has an army of cells in the blood, called the immune system.  They circulate all over the circulatory system, protecting us from intruders, such as virus, bacteria, pollutants, cancer cells and others.  This army of cells can become unfit because of not sleeping enough, and it can stop protecting us, or could even attack our own cells, thinking they are bad cells.  This could cause other illnesses, such as infections, or even cancer.

When a person continues not sleeping enough over months and years, these health handicaps in the body organs and functions have the potential to cause serious illness, as well as an early death.

Sleep is also related to our ability to learn, memorize and recall.  When we sleep well and enough, our brain is well rested, ready and able to focus on whatever we may have to learn or solve.  Focus helps us learn better and easily.

Also, sleeping well the night after learning new information or a new skill, allows our brain to continue processing and understanding the new material, and to memorize that which we have learned during the day.  This means that when we rest well at night, our brain works better and can learn, memorize and remember.

A good night’s sleep helps us be in a good mood, allowing us to get along with others and enjoy what we do and experience.  It also helps us stay alert and more focused, which contributes to being more effective in everything we do, and get better results.  This is important for security reasons, as well, because it prevents many accidents, keeping others and ourselves safe.

After reading all of this information, we could be wondering, What is “a good night’s sleep”?  It means being able to sleep uninterruptedly 7 to 8 hours for adults, 9 to 12 hours between the ages of 6 and 12. This time of continuous sleep allows the body -including the brain-, to rest and relax through all the phases of sleep.  It is important for our body to rest, relax and restore, in order to be ready for life’s challenges.

All this means that, if we want to lead a healthy, happy and productive life; If we want to enjoy our children, grand- and great grandchildren; and if we want to make our business grow, we need to get serious and plan our day so we can get enough sleep at night.


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