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How Does Quality of Sleep Affect Your Physical and Mental Health?

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How good your mood is and how physically active you are in the morning, and most of the day is determined by the quality of sleep you had the previous night. A good, deep sleep, helps to improve your focus and mood in the morning. Otherwise you spend the day groggy.

The human body works by following instructions. The brain gives the instructions and the chemical messengers, otherwise called hormones, relay the messages to the right organs and tissues. During sleep, there is limited muscular activity, consciousness, and consequently, alertness. Therefore, the body is said to be in a state of rest. However, the quality of rest determines the alertness and endocrine balance of the body the following day.

The most impacted part of the body, which is also the center for every other action the body takes, voluntary or involuntary, is the brain. The brain is the seat of consciousness and it is less stressed during sleep. It controls both the physical and mental well-being of an individual and is, therefore, the organ that receives rest most in the body, during sleep. Therefore, a bad night's rest means the brain did not rest well, and consequently, there is lesser physical and mental output.

What is Quality Sleep?

Generally, sleep is a state of rest in which the human consciousness and response to stimuli are limited but not lost. However, quality sleep refers to a distinct state of deep rest where the human body still responds to stimuli but the brain is in a more relaxed state. It is usually referred to as slow-wave sleep.

Sleep is in two types, non-rapid eye movement sleep (Non-REM sleep) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. These two types of sleep effectively explain the quality of sleep.

Normally, an individual goes from the rapid eye movement sleep, when the brain is still more involved in some activities, and the level of consciousness is higher, to the non-rapid eye movement sleep, when the brain activity is at a minimum. The sleep cycle starts with REM sleep and progresses into Non-REM sleep. The longer an individual stays in the Non-REM sleep, the better the quality of sleep they have.

Although it is normal for REM sleep to occur about 4 to 6 times in a good night’s sleep, it signifies a restless night and poor sleep quality if there are more than 6 times of REM sleep. Usually, the stages of sleep reverse when one is about to awaken, leading to a gradual increase in brain activity.   

Positive effects of Quality of Sleep on your Physical Health

The quality of sleep an individual gets affects their physical health as the brain is central to every physical activity the individual does. This is why it is not advisable that a sleep-deprived individual handle heavy machinery, as their brain is not functioning at its best.

Here are some of the positive effects of quality sleep on your health:

Growth and Development

Humans grow when they sleep. The human body is designed to be at work, continuously, when it is awake. During awake time, the body metabolizes to meet the energy demand of the body’s activities. The brain consumes about 20% of the energy output of the body; therefore, it limits the extent of growth that takes place.

However, when the brain rests, and the body muscles and cells have minimal activities to do, the body goes into an anabolic state, during which growth hormones are released to help repair worn-out tissues and aid in cell division. Generally, growth hormone secretion is affected by many factors, one of which is age, stress, and sleep quality.

There is more Growth Hormone secretion in the deep sleep or NREM sleep stage.

Alertness

Quality sleep is tantamount to good brain rest. When the brain is adequately rested and the level of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body is at the barest minimum, the human senses are more alert and ready to work.

Sleep deprivation causes poor judgment, lack of focus, and avoidable errors since the brain is fatigued and hasn’t gotten enough rest.

How Quality of Sleep can Negatively Impact your Physical Health

Cardiac Problems

Muscles and cells rest during sleep; they rest better during deep sleep. The cardiac muscles are constantly at work, pumping blood to every corner of the body. However, they have less work to do during deep sleep, and consequently, blood pressure is low.

When there is deprivation of quality sleep, that is, there is a prolonged REM sleep, the blood pressure is high, and strains the cardiac muscles. A repetitive poor quality of sleep may cause a blood vessel to burst under pressure, leading to cardiac arrest.

Low Immunity level

The body’s natural ability to defend itself from infections may become difficult due to poor quality of sleep. During sleep, the immune system produces cytokines. These cytokines contribute to the quality of sleep an individual has and strengthens the immune system.

When there is sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality, these cytokines are not produced, exposing the body to infection since the immune system is not fortified by cytokines.

How Quality of Sleep Affects your Mental Health

Usually, before the effect of poor sleep quality is seen physically, it starts from the mental. In some cases, the mental effects of sleep quality can be hidden, but when not addressed, it becomes physically apparent.

Here are some mental health effects of sleep quality:

Mood

A person’s mood is easily affected by the quality of sleep he or she gets. Since mood is primarily controlled by the hormone, serotonin, which is central to the communication between cells and nerves of the brain and other parts of the body. It is directly influenced and it directly influences sleep.

A good sleep quality ensures that there is an adequate amount of serotonin in the brain, making you wake bright and sharp. However, when you wake, feeling groggy and irritable, you probably had a bad night.

Depression

While moods can be short-term and can be easily fixed with a night of good sleep, depression is more long-term, and it develops as a result of consistent inadequacy in brain serotonin levels. An individual who consistently has inadequate sleep, or poor sleep quality, will constantly have mood issues, which will lead to depression.

To close your eyes and open them hours later is not enough. You need to have deep sleep for most of the night before you can be said to have had a good night's rest. The quality of sleep you get directly affects your physical and mental well-being; therefore, address every sleep disorder you may have.

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