Sleep is officially a “crossover hit” effecting virtually every part of human health. A recent article in Science Focus boldly declares: There is no major health system within your body or operation within your brain, that isn’t wonderfully enhanced by sleep when you get it, or demonstrably impaired when you don’t get enough.
The article penned by Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology and the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, is a summary of sleep’s benefits. “Sleep is the single most effective thing we do each day to reset the health of our brain and body,” Walker writes. “It’s an extraordinary elixir that can help you age well and live longer. Here’s what we know about Mother Nature’s cure-all.”
On the flip side, poor sleep is associated with an increased chance of high blood pressure, a heart attack, and/or a stroke. “Even the loss of a single hour of sleep can be heartbreaking, quite literally,” Walker quips.
On the mental side, a lack of sleep significantly increases anxiety, and is associated with higher rates of depression. “Recently, studies have shown that insufficient sleep markedly increases the chance of suicidal thoughts, suicide planning, and tragically, suicide completion,” Walker writes. “In contrast, proper sleep will gift quite remarkable health benefits in myriad ways, nurturing our memory and learning, and boosting our immunity, physical fitness and mental health.”