Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.
Sleep is one of the first things to go when we get busy, or even when we’re not. How many times have you given up a few hours of rest to finish up a project? Or stayed up binging the last season of your favorite show?
Here at Rory, we understand the challenges to getting sufficient, quality sleep and we’re here to help you find a solution that’s best suited for your lifestyle and needs. And one step to get there is helping you brush up on the basics of shut-eye. Read on for a primer:
Why You Need Sleep
Sleep isn’t just about feeling rested. While researchers still don’t fully understand the biological purpose of sleep, they do know that it helps all aspects of your body in some way, including your brain, metabolism, immune system, and mood.
The recommended amount of sleep for adults is between 7 and 9 hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation (1). In the U.S., more than 30 percent of adults aren’t getting at least 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2).
When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re at risk for dealing with:
- Anxiety, mental distress, and depression (3) (4)
- Getting sick more easily (5)
- Less focus and concentration (6)
- Weight gain (7)
- Serious issues like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and dementia/Alzheimer’s. (8)(9)(10)
How Does Sleep Work?
- When you sleep, your brain and body are hard at work.
- Your brain processes all the information you took in during the day, saving things from short-term memory to long-term memory and clearing out toxic byproducts that naturally accumulate when you’re awake
- Your body repairs the physical stress of the day by releasing growth hormones that rebuild muscles and joints.
Your heart rate slows and blood pressure drops, giving your heart a break. To learn more, read our sleep guideposts to better understand sleep and tips on getting a good night’s rest.
1. National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times. National Sleep Foundation. February 2015. Accessed March 9, 2019.
2. 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February 2016. Accessed March 9, 2019.
3. Dinges DF, Pack F, Williams K. Cumulative sleepiness, mood disturbance, and psychomotor vigilance performance decrements during a week of sleep restricted to 4-5 hours per night. Sleep. 1997;20(4):267-77.
4. Breslau N, Roth T, Rosenthal L, Andreski P. Sleep disturbance and psychiatric disorders: a longitudinal epidemiological study of young adults. Biol Psychiatry. 1996;39(6):411-8.
5. Besedovsky L, Lange T, and Born, J. Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Arch. 2012; 463(1): 121–137.
6. Nir Y, Andrillon T, Marmelshtein A. Selective neuronal lapses precede human cognitive lapses following sleep deprivation. Nat Med. 2017; 23(12): 1474–1480.
7. Al Khatib HK, Harding SV, Darzi J, Pot GK.The effects of partial sleep deprivation on energy balance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2017;71(5):614-624.
8. Nagai, M, Hoshide S, Kazuomi K. Sleep duration as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease- a review of the recent literature. Curr Cardiol Rev. 2010; 6(1): 54–61.
9. Touma C, Pannain S. Does lack of sleep cause diabetes? Cleve Clin J Med. 2011;78(8):549-558.
10. Shokri-Kojori E, Wang GJ, Wiers C. β-Amyloid accumulation in the human brain after one night of sleep deprivation. PNAS. 2018;115(17):4483-4488.