When you are able to achieve deep REM sleep, your body begins to repair itself. It lowers the stress hormone cortisol in your system and allows for your cells to repair themselves. Individuals who do not get enough sleep are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and more. Improving your sleep habits by setting a regular bedtime, hitting the ideal sleep duration every night, and avoiding irregular sleep patterns.
How much sleep do I need?
Most adults need 7 or more hours of good-quality sleep on a regular schedule each night.
Getting enough sleep isn’t only about total hours of sleep. It’s also important to get good-quality sleep on a regular schedule so you feel rested when you wake up.
If you often have trouble sleeping — or if you often still feel tired after sleeping — talk with your doctor.
How much sleep do children need?
Kids need even more sleep than adults:
- Teens need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night
- School-aged children need 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night
- Preschoolers need to sleep between 10 and 13 hours a day (including naps)
- Toddlers need to sleep between 11 and 14 hours a day (including naps)
- Babies need to sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day (including naps)
- Newborns need to sleep between 14 and 17 hours a day
Why is getting enough sleep important?
Getting enough sleep has many benefits. It can help you:
- Get sick less often
- Stay at a healthy weight
- Lower your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease
- Reduce stress and improve your mood
- Think more clearly and do better in school and at work
- Get along better with people
- Make good decisions and avoid injuries — for example, drowsy drivers cause thousands of car accidents every year
Why can’t I fall asleep?
Many things can make it harder for you to sleep, including:
- Stress or anxiety
- Certain health conditions, like heartburn or asthma
- Some medicines
- Caffeine (usually from coffee, tea, and soda)
- Alcohol and other drugs
- Untreated sleep disorders, like sleep apnea or insomnia
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try making changes to your routine to get the sleep you need. You may want to:
- Change what you do during the day — for example, get your physical activity in the morning instead of at night
- Create a comfortable sleep environment — for example, make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet
- Set a bedtime routine — for example, go to bed at the same time every night
How can I tell if I have a sleep disorder?
Sleep disorders can cause many different problems. Keep in mind that it’s normal to have trouble sleeping every now and then. People with sleep disorders generally experience these problems on a regular basis.
Common signs of sleep disorders include:
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Still feeling tired after a good night’s sleep
- Sleepiness during the day that makes it difficult to do everyday activities, like driving or concentrating at work
- Frequent loud snoring
- Pauses in breathing or gasping while sleeping
- Tingling or crawling feelings in your legs or arms at night that feel better when you move or massage the area
- Feeling like it’s hard to move when you first wake up
Sleep and Your Health
Sleep affects your weight by controlling hunger hormones. These hormones include ghrelin, which increases appetite, and leptin, which increases the feeling of being full after eating.
During sleep, ghrelin decreases because you’re using less energy than when you’re awake.
Lack of sleep, however, elevates ghrelin and suppresses leptin. This imbalance makes you hungrier, which may increase the risk of eating more calories and gaining weight.
Recent research shows that chronic sleep deprivation, even as few as five consecutive nights of short sleep, may be associated with increased risk of:
- metabolic syndrome
- type 2 diabetes
Proper insulin function
Insulin is a hormone that helps your cells use glucose, or sugar, for energy. But in insulin resistance, your cells don’t respond properly to insulin. This can lead to high blood glucose levels and, eventually, type 2 diabetes.
Sleep may protect against insulin resistance. It keeps your cells healthy so they can easily take up glucose.
The brain also uses less glucose during sleep, which helps the body regulate overall blood glucose.
A healthy and strong immune system depends on sleep. Research shows that sleep deprivation can inhibit the immune response and make the body susceptible to germs.
When you sleep, your body makes cytokines, which are proteins that fight infection and inflammation. It also produces certain antibodies and immune cells. Together, these molecules prevent sickness by destroying harmful germs.
That’s why sleep is so important when you’re sick or stressed. During these times, the body needs even more immune cells and proteins.
While the exact causes aren’t clear, scientists think sleep supports heart health. This stems from the link between heart disease and poor sleep.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the average adult needs 7 hours of sleep a night. Getting less than that on a regular basis can lead to health problems, many of which can hurt your heart health.
Lack of sleep is associated with risk factors for heart disease, including:
- high blood pressure
- increased sympathetic nervous system activity
- increased inflammation
- elevated cortisol levels
- weight gain
- insulin resistance
Supreme Medical Center in Houston
When it comes to getting better fast, the best thing you can do is schedule an appointment with your physician at the first sign of illness. At Supreme Medical Center our doctors work with you to treat your symptoms and get you back to feeling like yourself in no time.
Supreme Medical Center
350 N Sam Houston Pkwy E
Houston, TX 77060
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