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Blog Post

The Importance of Sleep

23rd Dec, 2017

Sleep is Important

Proper sleep plays a vital role in good health throughout your life. The proper amount of quality sleep helps protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. During sleep, your body is working to maintain healthy brain function and physical health. Impairment caused by sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as in a work accident), or it can be chronically causing damage over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.

 

Healthy Brain Function

Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you're sleeping, your brain is repairing damage as well as reinforcing new neural pathways to help you learn and remember information. Countless studies show that a good night's sleep improves learning, problem-solving skills and helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative. Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you're sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.

 

Physical Health

Sleep is involved in the healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Chronic sleep deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Sleep deficiency also increases the risk of obesity. One study of showed that with each hour of sleep lost, the odds of becoming obese go up. Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry or full. When you don't get enough sleep, you feel hungrier than when you're well-rested. Sleep also affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood sugar level. Sleep deficiency results in a higher than normal blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes. Your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. This system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you're sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections.

 

 

Daytime Performance

It is well document that people who are sleep deficient take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes.  Lack of sleep also leads to microsleep which is a brief moment of sleep that occur when you're normally awake. You can't control microsleep, and you might not be aware of it. For example, have you ever driven somewhere and then not remembered part of the trip? If so, you may have experienced microsleep. Even if you're not driving, microsleep can affect how you function. If you're listening to a lecture, for example, you might miss some of the information or feel like you don't understand the point. In reality, though, you may have slept through part of the lecture and not been aware of it.

Some people aren't aware of the risks of sleep deficiency. In fact, they may not even realize that they're sleep deficient. Even with limited or poor-quality sleep, they may still think that they can function well. For example, drowsy drivers may feel capable of driving. Yet, studies show that sleep deficiency harms your driving ability as much as, or more than, being drunk. It's estimated that driver sleepiness is a factor in about 100,000 car accidents each year, resulting in about 1,500 deaths. Drivers aren't the only ones affected by sleep deficiency. It can affect people in all lines of work, including health care workers, pilots, students, lawyers, mechanics, and assembly line workers. As a result, sleep deficiency is not only harmful on a personal level, but it also can cause large-scale damage. For example, sleep deficiency has played a role in human errors linked to tragic accidents, such as nuclear reactor meltdowns, grounding of large ships, and aviation accidents.

 

 



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