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Healthy Sleep Helps Your Body Heal

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THEY SAY THAT an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it turns out that a good night’s sleep might be even better for you.

Getting adequate sleep has loads of great health benefits, including boosting your immune system and improving your mood. If you needed any convincing to turn in a little earlier tonight, check out this list of impressive health results that occur when you get more shut-eye.

The Importance of Sleep for Your Health

The average adult needs between 7.5 and 9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health, but many Americans get far less. That’s too bad, because that eight-hour milestone comes with some pretty amazing results for your physical and mental health:

Sleep Helps You Heal From Injuries

While you sleep, your body produces and releases growth hormones that stimulate your tissues to regenerate and repair themselves. When you don’t get enough sleep, the levels of these hormones dip and impede cellular growth.

When you do get the right amount of sleep, your body is better able to heal itself while you sleep, so everything from cuts to bruises can look better overnight.

Other hormonal benefits of proper rest include reducing cortisol and other stress hormones that can cause everything from high blood pressure to weight gain. When your stress is reduced, your heart can rest, which offers additional protection from chronic disease. Healthy sleep heals your body from the inside out!

Sleep Improves Your Energy Levels

It seems obvious that getting a good night’s sleep will give you more energy to face the next day.

What you might not realize, though, is that sleep deprivation can cause a downward spiral that causes chronic fatigue that can have a big negative influence on your overall health. When you are too tired during the day, you may find yourself more likely to overeat and less likely to exercise — two major causes of poor overall health.

Getting proper rest allows your body to settle in to its ideal circadian rhythms, which will in turn allow you to greet the morning feeling wide awake and avoid a major crash later in the day.

Sleep Helps Prevent Illness

Another reason to make time for your full eight hours of sleep? Studies have shown that people who get less than seven hours of sleep each night are three times as likely to catch a cold than those who get more than eight. When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system suffers, and you lose the T-cells that are responsible for killing viruses and bacteria.

The same study showed that it’s not just the length of your sleep that matters — the quality is important as well, as interrupted sleepers also suffered more illnesses than those who slept through the night.

The Bottom Line

The importance of sleep can’t be denied, so it makes sense to pencil in the full eight hours on your daily schedule. Making sure that you get sufficient rest is as important to your health as eating nutritious foods and getting enough exercise, so start treating it like the essential part of your day that it is.

Turn off your TV and computer early, and relax in bed with a good book to ease yourself into slumber with enough time before your alarm goes off to get your daily dose of healthy sleep.

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