Importance of Sleep
By: Taylor Plattner
Sleep. Something all of us wish we could get more of but so few of us get enough of. We all make excuses for not getting enough sleep, but did you know that sleep is absolutely crucial in allowing our bodies to function at their peak level? If everyone knew how vital sleep is to them and the benefits it provides, I believe we would all make a greater effort to get more of it.
Why is sleep so important?
First, let’s talk about how much sleep we should get. Most health professionals recommend that grown adults get 7-9 hours of sleep a night with younger children and teens needing slightly more. During the time that we are sleeping, our brains are forming new pathways to learn and retain information and preparing us for the day to come. In addition, our bodies are repairing the damage done by the various stresses we put on them throughout the day. For example, that workout you performed so well earlier in the day put a lot of stress on your body. To gain the maximum benefit of that workout, it is important to get adequate sleep and rest so that your muscles and bones can repair and grow bigger and stronger than before. For children and teens, getting the proper amount of sleep is even more important in order to ensure healthy growth and development.
What happens if I don’t get enough sleep?
I’ll be honest, I know many nights I don’t get as much sleep as I should, and I think many people would say the same. However, I believe we would all make sleep a greater priority if we knew the consequences of sleep deficiency. Besides the obvious effect of feeling tired and sluggish throughout the day, ongoing sleep deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. A lack of sleep also increases the risk of obesity in individuals of all ages.
Just remember that sleep is important for us to function at optimum levels. As hard as it is, try to make sleep a priority. It’s going to be hard, but make it a goal just like you do with workouts. Slowly increase the amount you get until you get into that 7-9 range.