A Dozen Benefits of Restful Sleep

Sleep is vital for lifelong health and well-being.

But do you realize just how beneficial sleep can be?

The following list includes twelve potential benefits of regular, adequate, restful sleep.

  1. Repair of worn or broken tissues – It doesn’t take much imagination that realize that your body needs time to repair worn parts. Sleep provides that opportunity.
  2. Removal of accumulated metabolic trash from the brain – Metabolic waste product clearance during sleep may account for its restorative capability.
  3. The brain solidifies into permanent memory the previous day’s events – Sleep creates the opportunity for your brain to organize the mountain of information that you process during the day.
  4. Improved immune system function – The immune system somehow "remembers" bacteria and viruses by collecting pieces of microbes to create memory T cells. Long-term increases in memory T cells are associated with deep slow-wave sleep.
  5. Reduced risk of dying – A 2003 study of 183 healthy, older adults found that those who took longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep had 2.14 times greater risk of death than those who took less than 30 minutes to fall asleep.
  6. Reduced risk of cardiovascular illness – A study of 6,424 community-dwelling people found that, compared to those in the lowest quartile of sleep apnea symptoms, those in the highest quartile had a 42% higher risk of at least one type of self-reported cardiovascular disease.
  7. Reduced risk for chronic diseases – Research shows that obstructive sleep apnea is a risk factor for heart disease, hypertension, stroke, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
  8. Reduced risk of obesity - Research shows that people who sleep 6 hours per night have a 23% higher chance of being obese. For 5 hours/night, the risk rises by 50%.
  9. Reduced risk of fractures – A recent review the scientific literature and concluded that sleep apnea impairs bone health and increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
  10. Reduced exercise capacity – A 2014 study showed that exercise capacity, measured as peak VO2 and expressed as a percentage of the predicted maximum, was significantly lower in a group with obstructive sleep apnea compared to the control group with no sleep apnea.
  11. Reduced biological aging - A recent study suggested that a single night of partial sleep deprivation promotes biological aging in older adults.
  12. Maintained executive function – A 2008 study supported previous research suggesting that sleep deprivation impairs prefrontal cortex activity, which leads to temporary disruption of executive function.

One-third of Americans don’t get the minimum recommended amount of sleep on a regular basis. These Americans probably don’t enjoy the benefits listed above. But you can choose to get enough restful sleep on a regular basis. One way to help do that: Turn off your electronics by 10:30 every night.

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