10 Big Health Benefits of Sleep

What are the Health Benefits of Sleep? Is it Worth it to Sleep More?

The Health Benefits of Sleep are Many…

According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the benefits of sleep extend from learning and memory to metabolism to immune function and more. Getting adequate sleep can actually reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and even early mortality.

The National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute explains that heart and blood vessel repair occurs during sleep. Therefore, a long-term lack of sleep can increase disease risk of the heart and kidneys as well as high blood pressure and stroke.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sums up the health benefits of sleep into 4 main categories.

  • Get sick less often and lowering serious disease risk.
  • Have clearer thinking and the ability to make better decisions.
  • Reduce stress, have better relationships and improve mood.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.

Sleep Helps us Stay Healthy and Fight Off Disease:

Man Sleeping in a HammockThe Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science states that many researchers believe that during sleep, they body repairs and restores itself. This is how sleeping can help boost the immune system and reduce the risk of multiple diseases.

In addition, these restorative qualities includes tissue repair, protein synthesis and muscle growth. These factors not only enable us to get stronger, but to stay healthier as well.

No wonder some athletes I now take afternoon naps. Hmm, sleeping in a hammock may be the perfect way to increase my strength.

The Benefit of Better Brain Function…

An article in “News in Health”, a publication from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, states that sleep helps us think more clearly. It enables us to focus better, have quicker reflexes and basically function at a higher level throughout the day.

Sleep also helps us with learning and memory. In turn, it helps us improve our performance in school, our jobs, sports and other activities. We make less mistakes and can get more done in less time. Using meditation to help you sleep only enhances these benefits.

The Benefits of Sleep in Relation to Memory and Learning:

How Sleep Improves Relationships and Reduces Stress:

The Illinois State University Health Promotion & Wellness Department claims that people who lack sleep can be more irritable, impatient, moody and unable to concentrate. Therefore, those who get a proper amount of rest tend to be in a better mood and can interact amicably with others.

As you can imagine, improved communication and better relationships can impact our lives significantly by lowering our stress levels. This applies to all aspects of our lives, whether we are at work, at home or at school.

Sleep is Beneficial for the Waistline

Believe it or not, sleeping can also help us lose weight. Sleep plays a big role in the hormones that affect our appetites. Furthermore, adequate sleep gives us more energy during the day to take on more physical activity.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that more people are turning to relaxation meditations or guided meditations for sleep. This option is cheaper, healthier and more effective than most weight-loss pills.

10 Health Benefits of Sleep [Chart]

Sleep Stages, Brain Waves and Meditation

An article in Psychology World explains that we are very active when we sleep. In fact, brain activity is even more varied than when we are awake.

There are five stages of sleep. Brain wave frequency starts with theta waves (in stages 1 and 2) and progresses to delta waves (in stages 3 an 4) and finally to the deep “REM” sleep. Then the cycle repeats.

Alpha waves are another frequency which occur during periods of relaxation. We are still awake, our brain waves have slowed down, but we are not asleep. Alpha waves typically occur during meditation, and evidence suggests that alpha waves also have positive health benefits, similar to sleep.