The Benefits of Sleep for Overall Wellbeing

Getting a good night's sleep is essential for maintaining optimal health and well-being. Not only does it help to improve brain performance and mood, but it also reduces the risk of many diseases and disorders, such as heart disease, stroke, obesity, and dementia. Sleep plays a critical role in keeping us healthy throughout our lives. The way we feel when we're awake is largely determined by what happens while we're asleep. During sleep, the body works to maintain healthy brain function and physical health.

Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night for their cognitive and behavioral functions to work properly. Unfortunately, work schedules, everyday stressors, a disruptive bedroom environment, and medical conditions can prevent us from getting enough rest. Sleep disorders can also affect emotional regulation and stability, leading to symptoms of depression. Our internal “body clock” regulates our sleep cycle and controls when we feel tired and ready to sleep or if we're refreshed and alert. Sleep is especially important for athletes and people who play sports because the body heals during sleep. Studies have shown that people who get better quality sleep tend to have better emotional intelligence, allowing them to perform well in social interactions, maintain relationships, have a positive attitude, and control impulses. The deepest phase of sleep is known as slow wave sleep (SWS) and represents approximately 25% of total sleep time.

Eating a healthy diet and having positive lifestyle habits can help ensure an adequate amount of sleep each night, but for some people, chronic lack of sleep may be the first sign of a sleep disorder. In addition to increasing the risk of certain diseases and medical conditions, lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain. Research suggests that improving and maintaining a healthy sleep duration could help to lose weight and prevent obesity. Like exercise and a balanced diet, getting enough sleep can help prevent a number of health problems, including heart disease and depression. The Sleep Foundation's editorial team is dedicated to providing content that meets the highest standards of accuracy and objectivity. Studies have also found that lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of ghrelin (the hunger hormone), salt retention, and inflammatory markers. Therefore, getting enough quality sleep is essential for overall wellbeing.