We all know that sleep is important; if we don’t get it we’re cranky, we can’t focus, we’re irritable, etc. But what is the real importance of sleep?
We commonly seem to think of sleep as the time in which the mind and body shut down for the day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep is not just for dreaming; it is an active period in which a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs.
Not getting enough sleep can cause fatigue, anxiety, moodiness, headache, and a lack of focus. So how much sleep do we really need?
How Much Sleep Do We Need, Really?
Let’s face it, life tends to get crazy. You have kids, or you work too much, or you need to binge-watch the latest Strangers Things season—before you know it, you’re going to bed way too late and not getting enough sleep. No matter how old you are, healthy sleep is critical for everyone.
According to the National Sleep Association, “…adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, one-year-olds need roughly 11 to 14 hours, school-age children between 9 and 11, and teenagers between 8 and 10. During these critical periods of growth and learning, younger people need a heavy dose of slumber for optimal development and alertness.”
Is this on par with the amount of sleep that you’re getting?
And contrary to what millions of Americans try every weekend, you can’t “catch up” on sleep by sleeping in. Unfortunately, our bodies just don’t work that way—although if your sleep-deprived please do yourself a favor and get some sleep.
The best gift you can hope to give yourself is consistent sleep habits and healthy routines that allow you, no matter how old (or young) you are, to meet your sleeping needs every night. This way, you’re more focused and are able to accomplish more in a shorter period of time.
The Benefits and Importance of Sleep
Aside from some of the more obvious benefits of sleep, there are plenty of things that your body does as you slumber the night away that you may not be aware of. For instance, according to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch, “sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people [that] slept after learning a task did better on tests later.”
So maybe instead of pulling an all-nighter to cram for that test that you should have studied for weeks ago, you should just catch up on some zzz’s… and have studied for your exam weeks ago.
Additionally, chronic sleep deprivation can cause weight gain because it affects the way your body processes and stores carbohydrates. This is caused by the changing levels of hormones that ultimately impact your appetite.
Sleep deprivation also creates a greater tendency to be sleepy or fall asleep during the daytime, which should only happen if you work the graveyard shift and keep vampire-hours. That type of extreme fatigue may cause you to be clumsier than usual or make mistakes at work.
This can be especially detrimental while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that driving while sleep-deprived was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths back in 2013. A whopping 16.5 percent of fatal crashes involved drowsy driving, just imagine how much that number has grown in the last few years.
As we mentioned previously, sleep deprivation can cause irritableness, impatience, the inability to focus, and moodiness.
The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
If sleep deprivation starts to become a pattern or it occurs more often than a good night’s sleep, you might want to talk to your doctor about having a possible sleep disorder. This can include insomnia, which is when you have trouble falling or staying asleep at least three nights a week; sleep apnea, which is when your breathing pauses for 10 or more seconds while sleeping; or narcolepsy, which is when the brain loses control of its sleep-wake cycle causing you to sporadically fall asleep throughout the day.
Sleep disorders can have a serious impact on your health; they have been linked to conditions such as hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, weight gain, and an irregular heartbeat.
Sleep disorders can also alter your immune system function, which is crucial to fighting off infections, bacteria, invasive cells, and more
If you’re diagnosed with a sleep disorder there are tools out there to help you.
At 3B Medical, we help patients that suffer from sleep apnea. And we didn’t stop at just the sleep machine, we knew that there was a need for an effective and safe cleaner that didn’t have dangerous ozone so we created it.
The Lumin was invented so that you, our customer, don’t have to further endanger your health by either using a dirty or cleaning a mask or hose with harmful ozone. To learn more, contact us today or check out our frequently asked questions.