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Sleep On It: Why Getting Enough Sleep is Crucial for Your All-Around Health

We all know that sleep is important. It’s been drilled into our minds since we were young. However, few people actually get the amount of sleep they should be getting.

That lack of sleep can carry over into nearly every aspect of your life and lead to a variety of negative health outcomes. For instance, poor sleep has been linked to problems like depression, weight gain, and high blood pressure.

This year, National Sleep Awareness Week falls on March 14-20. It’s the perfect time to reflect on how much sleep you need and why it’s so important for your health.

Let’s take a look.

How Much Sleep is Enough Sleep?

The amount of sleep you should be getting depends on a variety of factors. It also changes depending on how old you are. As a general rule, you need less sleep as you get older. Children can require 12 or more hours each night in addition to naps.

For adults, the recommended amount of sleep is lower. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), adults 18 and older should be getting between seven and eight hours of sleep per night.

While that is a good starting point, that number isn’t a hard guideline for everyone. Factors like how active you are, the quality of your sleep, and your general lifestyle can all affect it. Some people may need more than the recommended amount while others may be able to healthily function on less.

Sleep for Your Brain

One of the biggest benefits of sleep is the effect it has on your brain. During sleep, your body has a chance to heal and restore itself. That’s especially true in the brain.

Studies have shown that the flow of cerebrospinal fluid increases during sleep, helping to wash out excess toxins that build up during the day.

Meanwhile, sleep allows the brain to process the events of your day and form new memories. This is especially important for students and those learning large amounts of new information each day. However, everyone can benefit from developing their long-term memory during sleep.

The restorative effect of sleep on the neurons in your brain can also lead to being more energized and focused during the day.

Sleep Regulates Your Metabolism

No one would complain about losing a few pounds. Along with exercise and a balanced diet, a good metabolism is key for maintaining a healthy weight.

Although sleep doesn’t affect how much you exercise (too bad) or your diet, studies are beginning to show that it can have a significant impact on your metabolism.

Individuals who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have an imbalanced metabolism. This can lead to issues like weight gain, overeating, and diabetes. Research suggests that even a single night without enough sleep can lead to increased ghrelin levels the next day. This is noteworthy since ghrelin is a hormone responsible for triggering feelings of hunger.

As a result, you may find yourself craving food or eating more than normal after a poor night of sleep.

While sleep certainly isn’t the only thing impacting your metabolism, it likely plays a key role. Ensuring that you get enough sleep can greatly help

Velocity Urgent Care is Here to Help

By now, we’ve established that getting enough sleep is extremely important for your health. If you’re having trouble sleeping, Velocity Urgent Care is ready to help.

Many different things can negatively impact your sleep, from pain to stress and mental health issues to poor sleep habits. If you’re concerned about your sleep, a visit with one of our providers is a great first step.

We will perform a thorough exam and questionnaire to get to the root of your problem and start identifying a solution. If you need more specialized care, we can even refer you to a provider within the Sentara Healthcare network.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking serious safety precautions to ensure that our locations are as clean as possible. We’ve put strict sterilization protocols into place and are carefully handling patients who may be contagious to ensure that each one of our clinics is safe for those who need urgent medical care or occupational health services.

Velocity Urgent Care offers convenient online registration that helps you limit your contact with others during a visit. You can sign up for an appointment online ahead of time and arrive when it’s time to be seen to skip the waiting room. We even offer text message updates so you can wait in the car (if you prefer) until it’s time for your appointment.

Velocity Urgent Care is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible. All of our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome. To find out more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.