Improving Health


7 Reasons to Sleep at Least 7 Hours Each Night

Posted by Mairead Callahan, RDN, CPT on September 8, 2016

7 Reasons to Sleep at Least 7 Hours Each Night | Mairead Callahan, RDN, CPT | Improving Health blog by CareATC, Inc.How much sleep do you need? The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

As humans, we need sleep, food, water and oxygen to survive, but somehow sleep seems to always fall to the bottom of the priority list.

We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but very few people actually get seven hours every night.

Why is that? Perhaps it is because we don’t know all the benefits a good night’s sleep can provide. Here are 7 reasons you should sleep at least seven hours to help motivate you to schedule sleep into your routine.

1. It helps your brain work.

As you sleep, your brain works hard to form new pathways and get ready for the next day.

A good night’s sleep can improve learning and help you perform better at work or school, improving attention, judgement, and creativity.

2. It can help prevent disease.

Sleep plays a role in healing the heart and blood vessels.

Ongoing sleep deprivation has been associated with an increased risk of many diseases including kidney disease, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and stroke.

3. It balances hormones.

Sleep plays a large role in the production of hunger and satiety hormones. When sleep deprived, the body produces more ghrelin (the hormone that makes you feel hungry) and less leptin (the hormone that makes you feel full).

If you do not get a good night’s sleep, your hormone levels will be affected, causing you to feel hungrier than if you got at least 7 hours.

4. It makes you more productive.

Sleep simply makes you more productive. When you are well rested you are more efficient and make less mistakes. This in turn makes you feel accomplished at the end of the day, going to bed feeling good about yourself.

5. It may help balance blood sugar.

Sleep can affect the way the body reacts to insulin. Insulin is the hormone that controls blood sugar levels in the body.

When sleep deprived, the body may become less responsive to insulin, which causes higher than normal blood sugar levels, and increases the risk of diabetes.

6. It can boost immunity.

A good night’s sleep is great for the immune system. Sleep deprivation can impair the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off common infections and viruses.

Get 7 hours a night to help prevent the scrape on your arm from becoming infected, or catching a cold from your coworker.

7. It can lower the risk of obesity.

Research has shown that individuals who get less sleep, tend to have a higher body weight. Schedule at least 7 hours of sleep to help your body function best and maintain a healthy weight.

Hopefully these seven reasons are enough to convince you to start making sleep an important part of your schedule. Begin tonight by getting at least seven hours.

Sweet dreams!

Photo credit: CJ Isherwood via / CC BY-SA
Mairead Callahan, RDN, CPT

About The Author

Mairead Callahan, RDN, CPT

Mairead is a registered dietitian, media personality, and founder of the popular health and wellness blog "My Healthy Ending." She studied Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, completed her supervised practice at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. Mairead’s philosophy is grounded in the power of whole foods, plant-based nutrition, and an active lifestyle.

Post Topics Healthy Lifestyles