Do you get at least seven hours of sleep per night?
About one in three U.S. adults don’t — but sleep is much more important than you may think. Sleep deficiency is shown to increase the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity and depression. It’s also a significant threat to safety, as driver sleepiness is a factor in about 100,000 car accidents each year.
After several nights of losing sleep — even just an hour or two per night — your ability to function can suffer as if you haven’t slept at all for a day or two. A good night’s sleep is critical because it plays so many roles in your physical and mental health:
- Helps your brain form new pathways that enable you to learn and retain information
- Repairs your heart and blood vessels
- Maintains a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry or full
- Supports healthy growth and development
- Boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues
- Plays a role in puberty and fertility
- Defends your body against foreign or harmful substances
- Helps you pay attention, make decisions and be creative