When you sleep, your body does not rest. That is good news for your health.
It is no secret that getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night helps you feel refreshed and alert and supports productivity. Sleep brings additional benefits by helping your body perform the following five important functions:
- Control blood pressure. “Blood pressure naturally decreases during sleep, but if sleep is interrupted, that decrease is affected,” says Kelly Schmidt, RPSGT, RCP, CCSH, CSE, Facilitator of the Sleep Disorders Centers at HSHS Sacred Heart and HSHS St. Joseph’s hospitals. “That leads to higher blood pressure during the day. Getting enough sleep may play a role in the treatment and prevention of high blood pressure.”
- Maintain heart health. Sleep is a stress reliever for the heart because heart rate and blood pressure decrease when you slumber. Insufficient sleep is linked with a higher risk of heart disease.
- Make needed repairs. During sleep, the body grows new tissue and mends damaged tissue.
- Prevent illness. “The body releases hormones, proteins, and chemicals during sleep that ward off disease and infection,” Schmidt says. “Sleep-deprived people are more susceptible to viruses and bacteria.”
- Regulate hunger. Sleep helps control the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which influence hunger.
If you experience interrupted sleep or daytime sleepiness that interferes with your work or favorite activities, speak with your primary care physician, who may refer you to the Sleep Disorders Center at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital or HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital for testing, diagnosis, and treatment.
You may also be interested in “Is Your Teen Sleeping Enough?”