Updated: Jul 1, 2020
Sleep is an incredibly important aspect of our everyday lives, as it hugely affects our physical and mental health. In fact, we need sleep to survive – as it is an active period in which a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs.
On average, we spend one-third of our lives sleeping and our body uses sleep for important biological processes. When we sleep:
Our brain stores new information and gets rid of toxic waste,
Our nerve cells communicate and reorganize, a process that supports healthy brain function,
Our body repairs cells, restores energy, and releases molecules like hormones and proteins.
These processes are critical for your overall health. Without them, your body can’t function correctly.
Why is sleep so important?
It affects stress and growth hormones
It boosts immune system
It regulates appetite
It improves concentration and brain function
It decreases risk of depression
Circadian rhythm: Your internal clock
The circadian rhythm is a cycle, that controls many biological processes such as the sleep-wake cycle (our ability to get quality sleep), hormone secretion, cardiovascular health, glucose homeostasis, body temperature, energy levels and metabolism regulation (weight control). Think of it as your internal clock.
This rhythm is influenced by the environment (such as lightness or darkness) as well as your genetic makeup and determines your sleep patterns by releasing hormones when it’s time to sleep.
Nowadays, with the amount of time spent indoors, lack of regular exercise and exposure to sunlight, it’s likely to disrupt our internal rhythm, and abnormalities in the circadian rhythm can lead to sleep disorders like insomnia. Small changes to your lifestyle, such as sleep-wake up at the same time, regular light exposure, physical activity and IV therapy treatments can do a lot for your health.
How sleep affects your immunity
During sleep, your body produces and releases cytokines - a type of proteins that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, leading to a compromised immune response.
Getting recommended 7 to 8 hours quality sleep each night can help you stay healthy, will keep your immune system in fighting shape, and also protect you from other health issues including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Alcohol and sleep
While many people believe that having a drink will help them get to sleep faster, alcohol actually increases the number of times you awaken during the night, leaving you tired and sleep-deprived the next day.