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How many hours of sleep are you getting each night? Well, the numbers may vary, some may say 5 or 6 hours and some may say 7 or 8 hours. There are many people who believe that getting 6 hours of sleep is enough. However, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, say that sleeping only six hours is bad news as it may lead to chronic sleep deprivation. As a result, you might feel depressed, find it difficult to pay attention and decrease the ability to control your appetite.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, healthy adults and older people should get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to help different bodily functions to function at its best.
Why Is Sleep Important?
Sleep is important for many reasons - it signals your body to release hormones and compounds that manage your hunger levels (beneficial for mid-night snackers), maintains your immune system, lowers the risk of health conditions, and retains memory.
How Sleeping Seven To Eight Hours Positively Affects Your Body
1. Manages your appetite
If your sleeping habits are poor, it may increase the body's energy needs. This will trigger your brain to release chemicals to signal hunger. This eventually leads to eating more and gaining weight.
Researchers in a study revealed that people sleeping for more than 8.5 hours had a higher body mass index (BMI) and higher A1C values. A1C is a measurement of a person's normal blood sugar levels. And those who slept for 6.5 hours had the lowest A1C levels.
2. Supports immune function
While you are sleeping, your immune system is releasing compounds called cytokines which are important for cell signalling. Some of these cytokines have a protective effect on the immune system by helping to fight against inflammation and various kinds of infections. If your sleep is not enough, the immune cells are unable to produce enough cytokines that will keep you from getting sick.
According to a research study in 2013, it was found that poor sleep increases the amount of inflammatory compounds in a person's body. These compounds are responsible for triggering asthma and allergies. The researchers of the study also found that people who sleep for four to five hours a night have a weak immune system.
3. Increases your longevity
The researchers from Italy and the United Kingdom analysed data from 16 separate studies conducted over 25 years, covering almost 1.3 Million people and more than 100,000 deaths. Their research findings were published in the journal 'Sleep'. The findings revealed that people who just slept six hours per night increased their risk of premature death by 12 per cent. And those who slept for eight to nine hours had a much lower risk.
4. Helps in memory function
Apart from regulating immune function and appetite, sleeping well helps in protecting and strengthening your memory. Research shows that sleeping well can aid in memory retention. And people who have poor sleeping habits have a harder time in retrieving information, they may interpret events differently and lose the ability to access previous information.
It is also essential to experience all the sleep stages that contribute to creative thinking, long-term memories, and memory processing.
5. Risk of diseases are lowered
If you are sleep deprived you may increase the risk of health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and obstructive sleep apnea. And all these health conditions can be kept at bay when you sleep for at least seven to eight hours.
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