10 Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep

The role of sleep on your overall health and well-being is becoming better understood from a scientific standpoint. There are many proven health benefits of getting adequate sleep.

Most adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day. Getting less than 6 to 7 hours of sleep for just one night can have an effect on you the next day. And chronically missing out on sleep increases the risk of disease. All the more reason to get some sleep, right? Here are 10 reasons why you should call it an early night.

1

Sleep Keeps Your Heart Healthy

woman sleeping in bed

John Fedele / Getty Images

During sleep, your body releases hormones that keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. Lack of sleep has been associated with worsening blood pressure and heart function. This can be a problem if you already have a heart condition, and, over time, it, can lead to heart disease.

Your heart will be healthier if you get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.

2

Sleep May Help Regulate Blood Sugar

Sleep helps regulate your body's metabolism. And sleep deprivation can have a number of health effects related to your metabolism. One of these is a fluctuation of your glucose (sugar) levels. This can be a problem for people who have diabetes, and it can also increase the risk of developing diabetes.

3

Sleep Reduces Stress

Sleep helps your mind and body relax and recover from your day. When you are deprived of sleep, your body releases stress hormones. Stress can cause you to react in ways that aren't productive—sometimes making rash decisions or acting out of fear.

Without a good night's sleep, you can end up feeling anxious until you finally get some much-needed rest.

Learn relaxation techniques to fall asleep faster so you can get the sleep your body needs.

4

Sleep Reduces Inflammation

Sleep regulates your immune system. When you don't get enough sleep, inflammation can result. You won't usually notice excess inflammation, but it can have an effect on your body. Chronic inflammation damages the body and increases the risk of many health conditions, including ulcers, dementia, heart disease, and more.

5

Sleep Makes You More Alert

A good night's sleep makes you feel energized and alert the next day. This will help you focus, get things done, and be able to socialize and enjoy recreation and hobbies. Energy and alertness also help you exercise, which is important for your overall health.

Being engaged and active throughout your day feels great—and all that activity from your day also increases your chances for another good night's sleep.

6

Sleep Improves Your Memory

Researchers have found that sleep plays an important role in a process called memory consolidation. During sleep, your body may be resting, but your brain is busy processing your day, making connections between events, sensory input, feelings, and memories.

Deep sleep is a very important time for your brain to make memories and links, and getting more quality sleep will help you remember things better in the long run.

7

Sleep May Help You Lose Weight

Researchers have found that people who sleep fewer hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese. It is thought that a lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones in the body that affect appetite.

The hormones ghrelin and leptin, which regulate appetite, have been found to be disrupted by lack of sleep. If you want to maintain or lose weight, don't forget that getting adequate sleep on a regular basis is a huge part of the equation.

8

Sleep Helps Your Balance

Sleep helps you maintain optimal physical abilities. Studies show that sleep deprivation leads to impaired short-term postural stability. This can lead to increased injuries and falls. Even if it's mild, postural instability can affect your daytime physical performance during exercise and sports.

9

Sleep Helps Executive Function

Executive function involves complex thinking, such as the ability to problem-solve, plan, and make decisions. Along with alertness and memory, executive function helps you with work, school, social interactions, and life in general. One night of sleep deprivation can impair executive function the next day.

10

Sleep Helps the Body Repair Itself

Sleep is a time for you to relax, but it's also a time during which the body is hard at work repairing damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays, and other harmful exposure. Your cells produce certain proteins while you are sleeping. These protein molecules form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair the damage of the day so you can stay healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any health benefit to sleeping nude?

Maybe. There might be some psychological benefits for some people. One study found that spending time nude improves body image, and sleeping nude is an easy way to do that. Another study noted that skin-to-skin contact with one's partner, including during sleep, contributes to the release of oxytocin, which helps you form a deeper bond and is linked to lowering stress levels. If you aren't happy to be sleeping nude, however, then it won't have any health benefits for you.

How does room temperature impact quality of sleep?

Yes, it does, but the best room temperature differs for each person. For many people, a room temperature of about 65 to 72 degrees F is considered ideal for the best sleep. Higher room temperatures tend to make falling asleep more challenging. Higher temperatures also contribute to more wakefulness, which negatively impacts sleep satisfaction and the feeling that one had adequate rest.

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