sleep benefits

7 Health Benefits of Sleep

Sleep not only makes you feel better but also offers many other important benefits for your overall health. Studies have shown that if you get enough good sleep then your mood, heart, brain and your sex life significantly improve.

Sleep plays a vital role in immune function, metabolism, learning abilities and other vital body functions.

The day you don't sleep well, you feel terrible. If this bad sleep cycle continues day after day then your health will be seriously impacted.

All sleeps are not equal so learn the differences and sleep well to reap all its benefits.

Types and Stages of Sleep


As you sleep it goes into many sleep cycles consisting of 4 stages in two different types of sleep.

Normal Sleep or NREM Sleep

This is the normal type of sleep in which you do not get dreams. It is also called Non Rapid Eye Movement sleep (NREM) sleep. This sleep can be further broken down into 3 stages

  • NREM Stage 1 - This stage occurs when you first decide to sleep and your eyes close. It is a light sleep and generally lasts for 1-10 minutes. If you wake up during this stage you will be fully awake.
  • NREM Stage 2 - when you enter this stage, the sleep gets serious. Your heart rate slows down, your body temperature reduces and it prepares you to go to deep sleep. It lasts for about 20 minutes and it is little difficult to wake up from this stage.
  • NREM Stage 3 - This stage begins 35-45 minutes after you decide to sleep. Brainwaves slow down and become larger. Outside noises don't bother you at this stage. If you wake up during this stage of sleep you will be disoriented for a few minutes.

REM Sleep

This is also called stage 4 sleep. This is the final stage of the sleep cycle. This lasts around 20 minutes. Your eyes move rapidly during Rapid Eye Movement sleep and your muscles are completely inactive. You dream during this period but you may or may not recall your dream during the wake up stage. Some people go sleepwalking and bedwetting during this stage.

Throughout the night you go into these four stages and each stage goes longer as the night proceeds. In the last cycle your Stage 4 sleep nay lasts for one hour.

How Long Should You Sleep?

Your sleep requirements have largely dependent on your age and lifestyle.

Scientists have studied sleep patterns extensively and come out with a window of recommended sleep hours.
The National Sleep foundation which keeps reviewing sleep requirements based on new scientific studies has currently the following recommendation on sleep.

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
  • School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
  • Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours

sleep benefits health infographic

Getting a good night's sleep is vital for your physical and emotional health. You cannot underestimate the benefits of taking regular proper rest everyday offered by sleep.

7 Health Benefits of Sleep

Following are the top 7 reasons why you should have good sleep.

Live Longer and Healthier

Studies after studies have proved that better sleep improves your immunity, fights with heart diseases , diabetes and obesity.

If you have bad sleep or not getting enough sleep for a week, your body will begin to show signs of health deterioration. Blood Sugar and blood pressure increases. In the long term that can cause heart attack and diabetes.


Better Mood

Good night sleep improves your moods. Your overall emotional health is much better after I will sleep as compared to when you don't have enough sleep. You may become cranky and exhausted due to lack of sleep which gets reflected on your overall moods.

Clear Thinking

Sleep loss can impair thinking and cognition. Your memory becomes weak and you get fuzzy and easily confused. Your brain functioning is suboptimal.

If you are sleep deprived then your ability to solve problems and decision making capabilities are impacted.

It is also found that during the sleep our brain stores information in an index firm which helps to recall when required. Lack of sleep disturbed this indexing as a result you can't recall.

Lower Pain

Proper sleep reduces inflammation and pain in the body. You also are less prone to injury due to the alert brain.

Getting enough sleep works as medicine to kill chronic pains. It is a vicious cycle in which being in pain affects your sleep and lack of sleep increases pain. You need to break this cycle by yoga meditation and exercise to sleep well.

Maintain Weight

Weight gain is both a psychological and physiological problem. When you have not slept well your moods are down you don't want to do exercise. This cycle sets in a routine of no exercise in the long term weight gain occurs.

On the physiological level feeling tired pushes you to go for food and increased food intake over a long period causes weight gain. So sleep well and control your weight.

Better Sex Life

If you are tired and have no sleep then your sex drive reduces impacting sex life. A regular good night sleep can keep you healthy and more active.

More Creative

Your creative juices flow much better when you have regular good sleep. A tired body has a tired mind.

Various studies have shown that brain functioning improves as a result of sufficient good quality sleep.

Other Considerations and Tips

Everyone is different and your sleep requirements differ based on your circumstances. Keep the following in mind to check if you are getting adequate sleep to stay healthy under those circumstances.

  • As an adult are you feeling healthy and productive within the 7-9 hours of sleep or do you need more sleep?
  • Are you dependant on caffeine during the day to stay alert?
  • Are you overweight or obese?
  • Do you feel sleepy when driving?
  • Are you suffering from any sleep disorder like insomnia or sleep apnea?
  • Do you feel tired throughout the day?

Answers to all these questions will help you to decide your sleeping requirement which will benefit you to live healthy.