The Importance of Sleep

Topics: Sleep, Sleep deprivation, Sleep disorder Pages: 7 (2578 words) Published: April 30, 2013
Michael Stewart
Professor Gazzaniga
College Writing 2
23 October 2012
Sleep is something most people love doing, yet nobody seems to get enough of it. What people are not aware of are the significant benefits a good night’s sleep can have, not only on oneself, but also on the world as a whole. A good night’s sleep not only keeps people healthier, more creative and mentally alert, it’s also a crucial aspect of maintaining a well-rounded functioning society. Sleeping well plays a vital role in peoples lives, with positive effects for society.

The biggest benefit of a good night’s sleep is the effect it has on people’s health. The more sleep people get, the less likely they are to get sick. Lack of sleep is the quickest way to run the human body into the ground. The human body needs a good night’s sleep to recover from the rigorous activities we put ourselves through while we’re awake. Having increased energy during the day, due to a good nights sleep, increases the chances that people will sleep well again the next night. Successful sleeping patterns will eventually lead to an increase in one’s daily energy level, making it vital to practice good sleeping habits as much as possible (Stibich).

The human body’s immune system also reaps the benefits of a good night’s sleep. When people don’t get good night’s sleep on a consistent basis, their body’s ability to fight off sickness decreases significantly. While sleeping, people’s bodies produce extra protein molecules that increase the body’s ability to fight off infections and stay healthy. The extra protein molecules aid people’s immune systems in mending their bodies at a cellular level while stressed or have been exposed to harmful elements such as infectious bacteria and pollutants (Sowder).

Sleep is one of human’s best therapists; the more sleep people get, the less stressed out they’re likely to be. A good night’s sleep helps lower elevated levels of stress hormones, which occur naturally in today’s fast paced lifestyle (Sowder). When people don’t sleep well, they’re much more susceptible to letting things bother them in a negative way. People who sleep well are able to focus on accomplishing their work in a faster, more effective time, without becoming stressed out about it. Without sufficient sleep, people will only harm themselves by allowing their stresses to pile up, becoming worse and worse over time (Sparacino).

Lack of sleep has been linked to inflammation. People who get six or less hours of sleep a night were found to have higher levels of inflammatory proteins opposed to those who slept more. Inflammation has been linked to other diseases such as stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. “People who have sleep apnea or insomnia can have an improvement in blood pressure and inflammation with treatment of the sleep disorders”, says David Rapoport, MD, associate professor and director of the Sleep Medicine Program at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City (“Sleep Deprivation”). Lowering the chances of inflammation make it easier for anyone to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

Sleep has also recently been linked to weight. Studies have recently proved that people who sleep less tend to weigh more. What links sleep and weight is the hormones the body excretes while sleeping. The two hormones primarily associated with weight and sleeping are leptin and ghrelin. "When you don't get enough sleep, it drives leptin levels down, which means you don't feel as satisfied after you eat. Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want more food," explains Michael Breus, PhD, a faculty member of the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and director of The Sleep Disorders Centers of Southeastern Lung Care in Atlanta (Bouchez). An integral part in maintaining a healthy weight and controlling one’s appetite is getting the right amount of sleep.

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