The importance of a good night’s sleep – Caruso's Natural Health Blog

Caruso's Natural Health

The importance of a good night’s sleep

Mapula S.
Adv Diploma Naturopath

Even if you have had a relaxed day with no significant exercise or mental work, you still need to get some sleep.

Sleep is often one of the first things to deteriorate when people feel pressed for time. Many of us view sleep as a luxury and think that the benefits of limiting the hours they spend asleep compensate the costs. People often overlook the potential long-term health consequences of insufficient sleep, and the impact that health problems can ultimately have on one’s time and productivity.

If you think you need to get to work early and stay up late to “get ahead” think again. Sleep deprivation can negatively affect your cognitive function, which can also affect the following:

Learning: Your brain consolidates memories during sleep and this is how you really learn something. Memories are  transferred from short-term to long-term storage during sleep, and both factual knowledge and physical skills are learned in conjunction with sleep.

Creativity: is not just for artists but for people in general, one can come up with better ideas after a good night’s sleep and with adequate sleep. You can think harder and more clearly when rested.

Sleep and your health: Insufficient sleep puts your body under stress which can result in higher levels of cortisol. When the body is stressed, Cortisol, which is a hormone made by the two adrenal glands located on each kidney, will be elevated to help protect your body from illness. Stress makes it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.

Immunity: Getting enough sleep allows your body to shut down, reset and recharge. The immune system is stronger when we get regular sleep. At night during the early stage of sleep, immune cells peak in concentration (T helper cells and antigens) enhancing the body’s ability to fight off foreign antigens and repair damaged tissue.

Muscle recovery: Sleep allows your muscles to get some rest, and that includes your heart. During the period of when you begin to fall asleep your heart rate and blood pressure drops. If you don’t get enough sleep, you experience less time in this relaxed state and over time you become susceptible to ill health.

Weight: Sleep deprivation is also connected with body weight. During sleep the body produces the appetite suppressing hormone leptin. Leptin is an appetite-suppressing hormone produced by fat cells, which is normally produced at night, and increases ghrelin, a hormone released by the stomach that stimulates hunger, which is also secreted at night in lesser amounts.

Let’s be honest, we all look fresh, rested and perform a lot better when we get enough sleep.