How important is sleep?


Quick Answer

Sleep is crucially important, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The amount of sleep a person gets affects many different parts of the body, from helping the brain create neural pathways for learning to keeping aware and safe while at work.

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Full Answer

Sleep is a time of regeneration for the body, notes the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Sleep gives the body a chance to repair and maintain important parts of the body, such as the heart and blood vessels. Sleep also aids in the regulation of hormones. Without enough sleep, hormones that control hunger fluctuate, causing increased feelings of hunger. If acted upon, these increased feelings can lead to obesity.

Getting the proper amount of sleep also helps maintain the immune system, keeping it able to react quickly to infections and foreign bodies, explains the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Sleep is responsible for maintaining mental health as well. Sleep deprivation is linked to depression, risk-taking and suicide. Studies have also shown that sleep-deficient people are less able to make decisions and solve problems. As a result, a person's performance while driving or at a job may suffer as it takes longer to perform everyday tasks.

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