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Benefits of High-quality sleep

High-quality sleep can have a positive effect on your health in countless ways, including:

  • Decreased risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Stabilized hormones, including those in charge of blood glucose regulation, thus decreasing your risk for diabetes
  • Boosted immunity, leading to fewer colds and improved skin
  • Most applicable this month, lowered stress (lowered cortisol levels) and improved mood (decreased anxiety and depression)

High-Quality Sleep and Mental Health

Mechanism by which seven to nine hours of high-quality sleep affects mental health:

  • When the body experiences a sleep deficit, it reacts as though it is under more stress, starting a positive feedback loop that increases your stress level.
    • Too much cortisol leads to the body staying in a sympathetic (fight or flight) state, increases heart rate, blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
  • Getting more rest can significantly decrease cortisol levels and restore balance to the body’s systems. In a preventative step, try to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night to avoid the rise in hormone altogether and reduce existing feelings of stress and anxiety.
  • Research has found that losing too much sleep can activate a region of the brain that controls emotional processing and worry. While those with an anxiety disorder are much more likely to feel the mental effects of a lack of sleep, it still affects everyone.

Sleep TakeAways

  • An insufficient amount of sleep can overwork the heart, cause more stress, negatively affecting your mental health.
  • Adequate sleep however, has been proven to drastically reduce feelings of anxiety by improving your ability to process stress and react in an appropriate way.
  • A good night’s sleep will boost your mood, outlook and temperament.
  • Sleep is so important; we will be taking a more in-depth look at it in the months to come.