Skip to Main Content
From The Doctors

What Happens When You Sleep?

March 11, 2024

In our fast-paced and demanding world, where productivity is often prioritized over rest, the significance of a good night’s sleep is often underestimated. Sleep is not just a state of rest; it is a fundamental aspect of our well-being that plays a crucial role in maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health. I talk to my patients about sleep at almost every appointment. It’s so important, it should be a vital sign. Here’s why:


Physical Restoration and Healing:

Sleep is a time for the body to undergo essential repair and restoration processes. During the deep stages of sleep, the body releases growth hormone, which aids in tissue repair, muscle growth, and the maintenance of a healthy immune system. Lack of adequate sleep can compromise these processes, leaving the body more vulnerable to illness and delayed recovery.


Cognitive Function and Memory Consolidation:

Sleep plays a crucial role in cognitive function and memory consolidation. The brain processes and stores information acquired throughout the day during specific sleep stages. A good night’s sleep enhances learning, problem-solving abilities, and creativity. It is during sleep that the brain strengthens neural connections, contributing to improved memory and overall cognitive performance.


Weight Management and Metabolic Health:

Sleep plays a crucial role in regulating hormones that control appetite and metabolism. Lack of sleep disrupts the balance of these hormones, leading to increased cravings for unhealthy foods and a higher risk of weight gain. Prioritizing adequate sleep can contribute to better weight management and reduced risk of metabolic disorders.


Emotional Well-being and Mental Health:

Sleep and mental health are closely intertwined. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to an increased risk of developing mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. A well-rested mind is better equipped to regulate emotions, handle stress, and maintain a positive outlook on life. Prioritizing sleep is an essential component of any mental health maintenance plan.


Cardiovascular Health:

Chronic sleep deprivation has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Quality sleep helps regulate blood pressure and reduces stress on the cardiovascular system. Prioritizing sleep is an effective and natural way to support heart health and prevent potential cardiovascular issues.


Improved Mood and Stress Reduction:

Sleep has a profound impact on mood regulation and stress reduction. A well-rested individual is better equipped to handle life’s challenges, exhibiting greater emotional resilience. Prioritizing sleep allows the body and mind to recharge, leading to a more positive and balanced outlook on daily life.

In a world that often glorifies busyness and productivity, it’s crucial to recognize the profound importance of sleep in maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life. Prioritizing quality sleep isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity for overall well-being. So, the next time you find yourself sacrificing sleep for other commitments, remember that a good night’s rest is not just a luxury; it’s an investment in your health and happiness.


12 Tips for Better Sleep

  1. Stick to a regular schedule. Our bodies like regularity. Try to go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time each day. This prompts your body to know when to release calming hormones before bed, and stimulating hormones when it’s time to wake up.
  2. Limit alcohol and caffeine. Both will interrupt sleep.
  3. Eat and drink appropriately. A regular to smallish meal about 2-3 hours before bed, and one that is balanced in nutrients, may help facilitate sleep.
  4. Do a brain dump. Take a few minutes to write in a journal or list whatever is on your mind before bed. Getting it on paper can help get it out of your brain so you can rest.
  5. Turn off electronics. Digital devices stimulate our brain. It’s best to unplug completely about 30 minutes before bed. This includes television, computers and phones!
  6. Stretch or read to destress before bed.
  7. Go to bed before midnight.
  8. Exercise regularly.
  9. Take a bath or shower in the evening to promote restful sleep.
  10. Get fresh air each day.
  11. Use white noise
  12. Keep it cool. A room between 60-68 degrees appears to work best for most people.