Health Benefits of Sleep

Medically reviewed by
 Dr. Nayantara Santhi

Dr. Nayantara Santhi

Dr. Nayantara Santhi holds an academic position at Northumbria University. After completing her Ph.D. at Northeastern University (Boston, MA), she joined the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School as a post-doctoral fellow to research how sleep and circadian rhythmicity influence our cognitive functioning.

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Last Updated On October 9th, 2023
Health Benefits of Sleep

We all know that getting enough sleep is important, but do you know why? The health benefits of getting enough sleep are immense and can profoundly impact our overall well-being.

From physical to mental health, a good night’s rest can be the difference between feeling energized and alert or sluggish and foggy. In this article, we’ll look closer at the health benefits of sleep and why it’s so crucial for us to get enough each night.

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Sleep is essential for keeping our bodies functioning correctly and improving overall health. It helps regulate hormones, reduces stress levels, boosts immunity, and improves brain function.

When we don’t get enough sleep, we can feel lethargic during the day and lack motivation or focus. Studies have also linked lack of sleep to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and anxiety. To get enough sleep, we need to do what we can to keep our internal sleep clock on track.

“Ever wondered why light is important for sleep?” Dr. Nayantara Santhi asked us hypothetically. “Light plays a critical role in our sleep-wake cycle. Light is the strongest time signal for our circadian clock. For most of us, our daily light exposure includes predominantly indoor artificial light, which is constantly available.”

“This is cause for concern, because of the health consequences of disruption of circadian rhythmicity and associated sleep deprivation through exposure to artificial light. Making sure we have enough outdoor natural light during the day and limiting artificial light after dark can go a long way in reducing circadian disturbances and accompanying sleep disruption.”

Our bodies need time to rest and repair themselves to stay healthy – sleeping is just one way we can give them the rest they need to stay healthy. With so many potential benefits from getting enough sleep each night, it’s clear that prioritizing sleep should be part of everyone’s daily routine!

Improved Mood

Having adequate sleep is essential to a person’s well-being, as it can significantly affect how one feels throughout the day. Poor sleep quality and insufficient rest can lead to many issues, including a bad mood.

Studies suggest that people who get enough sleep will likely experience improved mental health. There are numerous benefits to having a good night’s rest, but one of the most notable is an improved mood.

When we get adequate sleep, our bodies produce more serotonin which helps us feel happiness and satisfaction. Getting enough sleep also reduces stress levels, positively affecting your mood. Additionally, lack of sleep has been linked to an increased likelihood of experiencing depression or other mental illnesses.

These findings clearly show that ensuring you get enough rest each night can affect your emotional well-being. Prioritizing good quality shut-eye could be the key to feeling mentally and physically better in the long run.

Healthy Heart

When it comes to heart health, getting enough sleep is crucial. Studies have shown Verified Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The United States’ health protection agency that defends against dangers to health and safety. View source that individuals who experience poor quality or inadequate sleep are at an increased risk of developing heart disease. Insufficient sleep can also lead to higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels, further increasing the chances of developing cardiovascular problems.

Adequate sleep, however, can help protect against developing heart disease. It can reduce stress hormones in the body, helping to keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check. Additionally, getting enough restful sleep can help improve your energy levels and mood throughout the day, leading to a healthier lifestyle.

Ensuring you get enough shut-eye every night is critical to maintaining a healthy heart and reducing your risk of heart disease. So take steps to ensure you get regular high-quality sleep – your body will thank you later.

You can even monitor factors such as heart rate variability as you sleep, to get an idea of your overall heart health and how you might improve it.

Improved Mental Function

Sleep is also essential to both physical and mental functioning. Without sufficient sleep, the body and mind suffer from sleep deprivation, which can lead to several adverse effects. One such effect is a decrease in mental functioning.

Studies have found that when people don't get enough sleep, Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source their cognitive abilities are impaired. Memory, concentration, and problem-solving skills are all affected by insufficient sleep. This can be especially detrimental for students or those whose job requires high alertness and concentration.

Even short naps can help improve alertness and performance during the day, allowing one to focus better on tasks without mental fatigue or exhaustion.

In addition to improving alertness and overall performance, getting enough sleep can also help promote general well-being by reducing stress levels and helping with emotional regulation. With improved mental function comes improved decision-making ability, which is vital for everyday activities like work or school.

Ultimately, regular and adequate sleep helps ensure one’s body and mind function optimally throughout the day.

Regulated Blood Sugar

Regulated blood sugar is another essential health benefit of getting a good night’s sleep. When we drift into a deep sleep, our bodies can better regulate our blood sugar and insulin levels. This can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

Getting enough sleep can increase glucose production, resulting in higher-than-normal blood sugar levels. And overall, plenty of quality sleep is essential for keeping our bodies functioning optimally. It improves mental function and helps regulate blood sugar levels, boosts immunity, and supports overall physical health.

Maintaining Healthy Weight

Sleep has been found to play a critical role in maintaining a healthy weight. Studies have shown that those who get less than 6 hours of sleep each night are more likely to gain weight, Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source with a higher body mass index (BMI) being linked to insufficient sleep.

Furthermore, research has found that people who lose weight can better maintain their new lower weight when they get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.

Getting enough restful sleep is essential for controlling appetite and hormones related to hunger and fullness. When we don’t get enough quality shut-eye, hormone ghrelin levels increase, and leptin levels decrease; both hormones affect feelings of hunger and satiety. As such, having an adequate amount of restful sleep is essential for keeping our appetites in check.

The evidence shows that getting sufficient quality sleep can help us attain and maintain a healthy weight. This makes sleep hygiene an important part of any successful weight management plan.

Tips For Getting Better Sleep

Getting enough good quality sleep is essential for maintaining overall health. It’s important to ensure you follow healthy sleep habits to get the most out of your rest. Here are a few tips for getting better sleep that can help improve its quality and duration.

  • If you suffer from sleep apnea, wearing a CPAP mask while sleeping can help you get more restful sleep.
  • Making sure the bedroom environment is conducive to sleeping can also be beneficial. This could include blackout curtains, keeping the room comfortable, and turning off screens an hour before bedtime.
  • Avoiding caffeine late in the day can help promote better sleep habits.
  • Exercising regularly throughout the day has been found to improve the overall quality of sleep, so incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine.
  • Taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally is vital in helping you get better rest each night.

If you are still unable to fall asleep after twenty minutes, you should go to another room and wait to go back to bed until you feel drowsy. If sleep issues persist, speak with your doctor about ways you might better improve sleep hygiene and avoid poor sleep habits.

Setting Up the Bedroom for Better Sleep

Here are a few guides that focus on individual points to help you create a more comfy and cozy bedroom for sleep:


Why do I feel tired after a full night’s sleep?

There are three likely reasons that you are still fatigued after a night of eight hours of sleep due to the following three factors. First, you are not aware of your required amount of sleep. Second, you are not taking into account how well you sleep. Or third, you have recently suffered from sleep deprivation for an extended period and have not entirely recovered.

How much sleep do I need for good health?

Most adults require seven or more hours of high-quality sleep each night, and they should adhere to a consistent sleep pattern. A sufficient amount of sleep is not solely determined by the total number of hours spent sleeping. To feel refreshed when you wake up, it is essential to consistently acquire sufficient amounts of high-quality sleep.

Talk to your doctor if you struggle to sleep or stay asleep regularly or frequently feel exhausted even after getting enough rest.

Can too much sleep be bad?

Both getting too much sleep and not getting enough sleep might increase the chance of developing chronic diseases in adults over 45. These diseases include coronary heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, and obesity.

If you sleep for too long, you put yourself at a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke than if you sleep for too little. If you consistently feel exhausted the next day despite getting seven or eight hours of sleep each night, this could be an indication that there is something wrong with your health.

What happens when you don’t get enough sleep?

Insufficiency in sleep has been related to various long-term health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression. A lack of sleep has been shown to increase the risk of injury across all age groups, including children, teenagers, and adults. But how much sleep you need changes as you grow, so it’s important to understand how much sleep children need vs. adults.

How can I fall asleep faster?

The term “sleep hygiene” refers to the concept of making adjustments to one’s lifestyle as well as one’s nightly routine to achieve greater rest.

Practices that promote healthy sleeping habits include maintaining a regular sleep schedule, reducing caffeine intake, avoiding electronics before bed, and creating a calm, dark, and comfortable sleep environment. Limiting nap duration, using the bedroom solely for sleep, and choosing appropriate pre-bedtime snacks also contribute.

If you are still having difficulties falling asleep fast, you may want to talk to a doctor or another qualified medical expert. You could be suffering from a sleep issue or another underlying disease preventing you from resting well. Your physician will be able to assist you in identifying the problem and will work with you to devise a treatment strategy.

The Bottom Line

Sleep is essential for good health and overall well-being. It can improve mood, help maintain a healthy heart, regulate blood sugar levels, and even help to maintain a healthy weight. Getting enough quality sleep regularly is essential to enjoying the full range of benefits that it has to offer.

Some simple steps can be taken to ensure you get the restful sleep your body needs. Tips include avoiding caffeine late in the day, setting a consistent bedtime routine, and ensuring your bedroom is comfortable and dark. And regular exercise for better sleep helps to reduce stress levels and improving the quality of sleep you get each night.

Getting enough quality sleep regularly is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Good sleep has numerous health benefits and can profoundly affect physical and mental health. The tips outlined above can help you get the restful sleep your body needs to enjoy all the associated health benefits.

About the author

Eric Ridenour is a health and wellness writer with a strong focus on sleep and nutrition. With a background in health science and psychology, Eric has a deep understanding of the connection between sleep and overall well-being. His expertise has been sought by various businesses and individuals, and his work has been featured in reputable publications such as Thrive Global, Drug Report, and Authority Magazine. Eric's commitment to promoting better sleep and comprehensive wellness is evident in his writing and consultations. He is a published author working on his second book.

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