Oct 19, 2021
The Importance of Quality Sleep to Your Health
We spend approximately one third of our lives sleeping. Or at least, trying to sleep. To put that in perspective, a 75-year-old person has spent around 25 years of their life in bed. Perhaps it is a good idea if we spend a little time looking into the effect quality sleep, or the lack of quality sleep can have on our health.
Poor sleep health is a common problem with 25 percent of U.S. adults. These people report insufficient sleep, or not feeling rested, at least 15 out of every 30 days. The public health burden of chronic sleep loss and sleep disorders is difficult to calculate. However, it is safe to say the quality of sleep has a substantial effect on our overall health.
Why is sleep quality important? Sleep, like nutrition and physical activity, is a crucial determinant of health and well-being. When we sleep our bodies repair themselves, replacing worn out cells with new, healthy cells. These restorative processes are not sufficient for healthy life if we do not get enough sleep. Likewise, our bodies are not restored to optimal function if the sleep we get is not quality sleep.
The concern is not so much quantity of sleep, as it is quality of sleep. For instance, it is much better to get 6 hours of quality sleep than it is to get 8 or 9 hours of interrupted sleep. Quality sleep means we lay down and within 10 minutes we fall asleep. We do not wake up during the night or have disturbances in our breathing while we sleep.
Conversely, interrupted sleep can result from breathing disorders, outside noises or disturbances such as dogs barking, bed partners moving around or getting up. Even getting a substantial amount of interrupted sleep will not be restorative or optimal.
Getting consistent and adequate quality sleep is necessary to:
- Fight off infection
- Support healthy digestion and sugar metabolism to maintain healthy blood sugar levels
- Perform cognitive tasks at work or at school
- Work effectively and safely, especially while operating equipment
- Allow the body to heal and repair support structures such as tendons and ligaments
- Give vital organ systems time to rest and receive nutrition while not under stress
Quality of sleep is directly related to the quality of life. Poor sleep health is of particular concern to individuals with chronic diseases and disabilities. Sleep disorders or lack of quality sleep are associated with an increased risk of:
- Heart disease including heart attacks and strokes
- High blood pressure
- Obesity and weight-related joint disorders
- Diabetes and kidney disease
Sleep quality is particularly vital when we understand we cannot “catch up” on sleep. If we are forced to get by on short sleep or poor-quality sleep during the week, only to sleep long and late on the weekends, this is a recipe for disaster. Sleeping late on the weekends does not allow the restoration and rebuilding necessary for good health. Work to get quality sleep, consistently throughout the week to maintain optimal functioning and allow restoration to occur.
Now, turn off the light and get some quality sleep. Be Blessed.
Category: Dr. Sterling