How Sleep Works? Sleep supports growth and development in kids and teenagers as well. A lack of sleep can increase your risk of chronic (long-term) health problems.
How does sleep affect our health?
Sleep is necessary for the best health and well-being throughout your life. What happens while you sleep affects how you feel when you are up. During sleep, your body works to maintain good brain function and physical wellness.
Heart and circulatory system
Find out how much sleep you need, and the effects sleep has on your immune system, metabolism, respiratory system, heart, and circulatory system. Your blood pressure and heart rate decrease when you fall asleep and enter non-REM sleep. Your parasympathetic nervous system manages your body while you sleep, and the heart does not work as hard as it does when you are up.
Your sympathetic system is stimulated during REM sleep and when you wake up, increasing your heart rate and blood pressure to normal levels while you are awake and relaxed. A sharp increase in blood pressure and pulse rate upon awakening has been linked to angina, chest pain, and heart attacks. People who do not get enough sleep or wake up frequently during the night may be at a higher risk of:
- Coronary heart disease
- High blood pressure
Hormones and sleep (How Sleep Works)
At different times of the day, your body produces different hormones. This may be because of your sleeping habits or your circadian clock. Your body releases hormones that enhance alertness, such as cortisol, in the morning, which helps you wake up. Other hormones have 24-hour cycles that change over time; for example, in children, the hormones that direct the glands to release testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone generate pulses at night, and the pulses become larger as puberty approaches.
Metabolism and sleep
Circadian clocks, including those in the liver, fat, and muscle, influence how your body handles fat Circadian clocks, for example, guarantee that your liver is ready to aid in fat digestion when needed. If you consume fat at irregular intervals, your body may react differently to it. According to research, not obtaining enough quality sleep might result in:
• Higher amounts of hunger-controlling chemicals such as leptin and ghrelin in your body.
• Impairment in insulin sensitivity
• Increased food consumption, particularly of fatty, sugary, and salty foods
• Less physical activity
• The metabolic syndrome
Respiratory and immune systems
During sleep, you breathe less frequently and deeply, and you take in less oxygen. These alterations might be problematic for people who suffer from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Asthma symptoms are typically worst in the early morning hours. Similarly, breathing issues in people with lung disorders such as COPD might worsen during sleep.
Sleep also has an impact on various components of your immune system, which become more active at different times of day. When you sleep, for example, a specific type of immune cell works harder. As a result, those who do not get enough sleep may be more susceptible to colds and other diseases.
Problems with thinking and memory
Sleep aids in the establishment of long-term memories and learning. Inadequate or insufficiently high-quality sleep might lead to difficulties focusing on tasks and thinking clearly. For additional information on how a lack of sleep impacts daily tasks such as driving and homework, visit our Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency page.
How Much Sleep Is Enough?
Experts recommend that adults aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
Adults who sleep less than 7 hours per night are more likely to have health problems than those who sleep 7 or more hours per night. Sleeping more than 9 hours per night is not necessarily dangerous and may be beneficial for young adults, those suffering from sleep deprivation, and those who are ill.
The amount of sleep that children should get depends on their age. Sleep experts believe that naps are appropriate for children under the age of seven.
Recommended hours of sleep
• The recommended sleep hours for various ages, including naps, are mentioned below.
• Sleep patterns for newborns under 4 months of age vary greatly.
• Babies from four months to one year should sleep 12 to 16 hours each day.
• Children from one to two years should sleep 11 to 14 hours each day.
• Children aged 3 to 5 should sleep 10 to 13 hours each day.
• Children aged 6 to 12 should sleep 9 to 12 hours each day.
• Teens aged 13 to 18 should sleep 8 to 10 hours each day.
If you believe you or your child is sleeping too much or too little, consult your doctor.