Sleep
10 Dreamy Health Benefits of Sleep You Don’t Want to Miss

Ever remember hearing the words, “it’s time for bed,” when you were a kid?

Chances are pretty good you stalled. You got a drink of water. You organized your toys. You asked for another story. You revealed a due-the-next-day homework assignment.

Sound familiar?

Here’s the thing. You still need your sleep. No doubt you’ve heard the advice before. Yet, 1 in 3 adults don’t get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

If you want to be healthier, feel better, and live longer, make the effort to get your Zzzs. Check out these top 10 dreamy benefits of sleep from the National Institutes of Health:

  1. Prevent disease. Sleep is a restorative process that helps reduce inflammations and lower risk for chronic health conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.
  2. Support brain function. Ever tried to deal with a crisis, drive, make an important decision, or be creative when you’re sleep deprived? It’s tough. Getting enough sleep supports brain function and creativity, and helps improve decision making and reaction times.
  3. Increase productivity. When you’re well-rested, it’s easier to concentrate, focus, and get things done. That’s good for meeting a deadline at work or finishing a project at home.
  4. Improve mood. Research shows that people who get adequate sleep have a lower risk of depression than the sleep deprived. Getting enough rest also helps you get along with others better.
  5. Regulate hormones. You probably don’t even think about it, but sleep regulate hormones (ghrelin and leptin) linked to appetite and hunger. Get enough sleep, and you’re less likely to have intense cravings, and when you do eat, you’ll feel fuller longer.
  6. Support weight management. Sleep also helps regulate metabolism and cortisol levels, which can help you manage your weight. Research shows people who sleep less than 7 hours a night have a higher risk for being overweight or obese. And right now, about 70 percent of all adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese.
  7. Strengthen the immune system. Want to protect yourself from getting sick or catching a cold? Washing your hands frequently is your best defense. Eating healthy, and avoiding sick people when possible, will help too. Research shows sleep also helps strengthen your immune system.
  8. Prevent certain types of cancer. When you get enough sleep, your body produces more melatonin than when you skimp on sleep. Research shows that melatonin may help prevent certain types of cancer.
  9. Reduce stress. Everybody experiences stress from time to time. But not everybody manages stress in healthy ways. Drinking alcohol, taking drugs, and other addictive behaviors are often one way people cope with stress. But there’s a better way. Exercise, counseling, and medication can help. Research shows sleep also helps reduce stress to help you deal.
  10. Lower blood pressure. Did you know about half of all adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is higher than 120/80, it’s elevated. Fortunately, getting a good night’s rest can help relax your body and lower blood pressure.

Thinking about staying up late again to binge-watch your favorite shows, take care of projects you could do another day, or work late when you don’t have to?

Chill out. Relax. Get your pajamas on, and go to bed at a decent time. That voice from the past telling you “it’s time for bed,” is right. Sleep is good for your health.

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