Protects against chronic disease
Sleep may be as critical to good health as diet and exercise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Poor sleep has been linked to poor blood sugar regulation, inflammation, stress hormones, increased blood pressure, and clot formation. Those problems contribute to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Sleep helps balance your levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which make you feel hungry or full.
Your body repairs itself while you sleep. That’s when your body increases production of proteins needed for cell growth, including those in the heart and blood vessels, and to mend damage from stress and ultraviolet rays. While asleep, you release human growth hormone, which boosts muscle mass.
Improves mood and mental function
Getting ideal amounts of good sleep relieves stress and enhances mood, of course. But it also improves memory and concentration. Research suggests that sleep may help nerve cells repair themselves, and form new connections. There’s even new evidence that during sleep, the brain clears away proteins and other cell waste byproducts that otherwise may interfere with mental function. Recent research, albeit animal studies, suggest that some of the proteins sleep helps clear away, called amyloid, might otherwise build up on the walls of the arteries in the brain and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease progression.