10 Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep

Getting enough sleep has a lot of proven health benefits. Scientists have learned more and more as they've gained a better understanding of the role of sleep.

You know it doesn't feel good when you don't get enough sleep. But you may not realize how far-reaching the impact can be.

This article lists 10 ways sleep is good for your health.

How Much Sleep is Enough?

  • Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per day.
  • Getting less than six or seven hours of sleep for just one night can affect you the next day.
  • Chronically missing out on sleep increases your risk of disease.
1

Sleep and Heart Health

woman sleeping in bed

John Fedele / Getty Images

During sleep, your body releases hormones. Some of them keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.

Lack of sleep deprives you of these hormones. That's associated with:

This is an even bigger problem if you already have a heart condition.

2

Sleep and Blood Sugar Regulation

Sleep helps regulate your metabolism. That's the way your body converts food to energy.

Sleep deprivation can cause many problems with metabolism, including fluctuating blood sugar levels.

This can be a problem if you have diabetes. It also raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Blood sugar extremes also affect your:

  • Mood
  • Energy levels
  • Mental function
3

Sleep and Stress

Sleep helps your mind and body relax and recover from your day. When you're sleep deprived, your body releases stress hormones.

Stress can make you react in ways that aren't productive. You may act out of fear or make rash decisions. Or you may be irritable.

A poor night's sleep can make you feel anxious. This may last until you finally get some much-needed rest.

Improving Sleep

Practicing relaxation techniques can help you fall asleep faster.

4

Sleep and Inflammation

Sleep regulates your immune system. When you don't get enough, irregular immune system activity can cause inflammation.

You may not notice excess inflammation. But it can have an effect on your body.

Chronic inflammation damages structures and increases your risk of many health conditions. A few examples include:

5

Sleep and Weight Loss

Research suggests that people who sleep less are more likely to be overweight or obese.

Poor sleep appears to disrupt the balance of ghrelin and leptin. Those are hormones that control appetite.

If you want to lose or maintain weight, don't forget that good sleep is part of the equation.

Recap

Adequate sleep helps with hormonal balance. That keeps your heart healthy, reduces stress, and helps keep blood sugar consistent.

It also reduces stress, prevents inflammation, and helps control weight.

6

Sleep and Balance

Sleep helps you maintain your physical abilities. Studies show sleep deprivation leads to short-term balance problems.

That's called postural instability. It can lead to injuries and falls. Even mild instability can cause problems during sports or exercise.

7

Sleep and Alertness

A good night's sleep makes you feel energized and alert. This helps you focus and get things done.

It's easier to exercise when you're energetic and alert. So that's an indirect benefit of getting enough sleep.

Being engaged and active throughout your day feels good. And being more active all day makes another good night's sleep more likely.

8

Sleep and Memory

Sleep appears to play a big role in what's called memory consolidation. 

During sleep, your brain makes connections. It links events, feelings, and sensory input to form memories.

Deep sleep is important for this. So more quality sleep can improve your memory.

9

Sleep and Executive Function

Executive function involves complex thinking. That includes things like problem-solving, planning, and making decisions. It can also affect your alertness and memory.

Executive function helps you with work, school, social interactions, and more. One night of sleep deprivation can impair executive function the next day.

10

Sleep and Repairs

While you sleep, your body works hard to repair damage. The damage can be from stress, ultraviolet rays, and other harmful things you're exposed to.

Your cells produce certain proteins while you sleep. They form the building blocks of cells. That lets cells repair the day's damage and keep you healthy.

Recap

Sleep is important for memory formation, clear thinking, balance, and repairing damage.

Summary

While you sleep, your body is hard at work. It restores hormonal balance, repairs itself, and keeps the circulatory and immune systems functioning properly. Your brain forms and stores memories.

Quality sleep allows you to be energetic and alert. It allows you to lose weight, exercise, work, learn, socialize, and do all the things you enjoy.

A Word From Verywell

If you're not sleeping well, talk to your healthcare provider. You have a lot of options for getting better sleep.

That may include treating sleep disorders and/or improving your sleep habits. Your provider may also be able to suggest medications or supplements to improve your sleep.

But the most important thing is that you make sleep a priority. Set aside at least seven hours a night, and eight or nine if possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is there any health benefit to sleeping nude?

    Maybe. Studies suggest it can improve your body image. It may also increase levels of the hormone oxytocin. But that's only if you have skin-to-skin contact with a partner. Oxytocin lowers stress and helps you form deeper emotional bonds. But if you aren't happy sleeping nude, it won't benefit you.

  • How does room temperature impact quality of sleep?

    It's different for everyone. For many people, about 65 to 72 degrees F is ideal for sleep. Some may like temperatures as low as 60 degrees.

    A warmer room can make it harder to fall asleep. It can also make you feel less well-rested.

11 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Tiwari R, Tam DNH, Shah J, Moriyama M, Varney J, Huy NT. Effects of sleep intervention on glucose control: A narrative review of clinical evidence. Prim Care Diabetes. 2021 Aug;15(4):635-641. doi:10.1016/j.pcd.2021.04.003

  3. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Get off the blood glucose roller coaster.

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  6. Ołpińska-Lischka M, Kujawa K, Maciaszek J. Differences in the effect of sleep deprivation on the postural stability among men and women. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Apr 5;18(7):3796. doi:10.3390/ijerph18073796

  7. Liu XL, Ranganath C. Resurrected memories: Sleep-dependent memory consolidation saves memories from competition induced by retrieval practice. Psychon Bull Rev. 2021 Jun 25. doi:10.3758/s13423-021-01953-6

  8. Pesoli M, Rucco R, Liparoti M, et al. A night of sleep deprivation alters brain connectivity and affects specific executive functions [published online ahead of print, 2021 Jul 10]. Neurol Sci. 2021;10.1007/s10072-021-05437-2. doi:10.1007/s10072-021-05437-2

  9. West K. Naked and unashamed: Investigations and applications of the effects of naturist activities on body image, self-esteem, and life satisfactionJ Happiness Stud. 2018;19:677–697. doi:10.1007/s10902-017-9846-1

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By Mark Stibich, PhD
Mark Stibich, PhD, FIDSA, is a behavior change expert with experience helping individuals make lasting lifestyle improvements.