Why Getting Enough Sleep Is One of the Key Pillars of Health
Sleep is vital.
It is the time we recharge our batteries, restore our bodies, and replenish our mental alertness and creativity.
And yet, in our stress-filled lives, sleep often gets neglected.
We are here to shine a spotlight on sleep in honor of World Sleep Day.
Celebrated on March 16th, World Sleep Day is a holiday to spread awareness of sleep and its great physical and psychological benefits.
How Sleep Works
To give you a better understanding on the importance of healthy sleep, let’s first find out how sleep works.
There are two types of sleep cycles:
- Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) Sleep: Where deep sleep happens. It is crucial for physical renewal, hormonal regulation, and growth.
- Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep: Where dreams or nightmares happen. It is crucial for learning and higher-level thought.
The cycle of these two takes an average of 90 minutes, occurring 4-6 times in a good night’s sleep.
Thus, we need seven to nine hours of sleep for our brain and body to function well.
Why Is Sleep so Good for Us?
Medical doctors and researchers extol the virtues of sleep, citing countless studies which show that sleep is one of the best pathways to a more productive and joyful life.
Sleep is good for us because it:
- Reduces Emotional Stress: REM sleep helps us better process stress caused by emotions.
- Makes Us Happier: Sleep-deprived people are seven times more likely to feel helpless and five times more likely to feel lonely.
- Boosts Emotional Intelligence: A UC Berkeley study revealed that sleep-deprived individuals struggle with reading people’s emotions and facial expressions.
- Improves Overall Health: Sleep protects our immune system, improves cardiovascular health, reduces inflammation and maintains the proper functioning of our brain.
Given all these advantages, it is not surprising that chronic sleep deprivation can take a serious toll. In fact, estimates show that sleep deprivation costs us billions worldwide (up to $400 billion a year just in the United States).
The best way to celebrate World Sleep Day?
Well, you can first begin by getting a great night’s sleep!
And then, when you wake up, here is a plant-based recipe that will get your day off to a wonderful start—the Build-Me-Up Breakfast Bowl!