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Physical Health and Sleep: How are They Connected?

Fact Checked
Up to date
Update: October 31, 2022
5 min read
physical health and sleep

Sleep and good health go hand-in-hand. It is not an exaggeration to say that sleep can be a powerful tool that heals your brain and body, ensuring you feel refreshed and energized the next day. When we are asleep, our body goes through various critical processes that help us recover from injuries, heal from within, and even fight illnesses. Therefore, adequate sleep is essential for a healthier body and a happy life. But there is more. In today’s article, we are here to unpack all about physical health and sleep. Read ahead to know more! 

How Does Physical Activity Help You Sleep Better? 

While physical activity can be great for your health, it can greatly benefit your sleep. It helps reduce any disruptions and induces deeper sleep. When you opt for regular physical activity, it tires your body and cuts down the sleep latency. Now, sleep latency is the time you take to fall asleep. But when you consistently exercise, you can sleep as soon as you lie down and get the required 7 to 8 hours of sleep. 

Physical activity can also induce deeper sleep stages and avoid interruptions during slow-wave sleep phases. Another reason why we sometimes have trouble falling asleep is because of stress or anxiety. It can delay the onset of sleep and can even cause disturbed sleep. However, it is seen that regular physical activity can equip you with positive feelings and help combat stress or anxiety. 

Health Benefits Of Getting Enough Sleep 

You already know one of the benefits of sleep on your physical health and that is you wake up refreshed every morning. But, let’s take a look at some of the other advantages sleep has on physical health; 

Get sick less often

When you enjoy a quality slumber every day, your immune system releases proteins known as cytokines. Cytokines not only help you sleep well but can also help with any infection or inflammation. However, sleep deprivation can decrease the number of cytokines produced. Proper sleep also strengthens your immune function.

Stay at a healthy weight

Getting adequate sleep is important. It prevents unnecessary weight gain and reduces the risks of obesity. Poor sleep has been associated with a higher body mass index. 

Lower your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease 

Sleep is precious for your health. Studies show that insufficient sleep increases the risks of developing severe medical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and more. 

Reduce stress and improve your mood

Have you ever felt low, but a good night’s slumber has ensured you wake up happy and feeling like yourself? Well, good sleep can drastically curb stress or anxiety while enhancing your ability to process any stress

Think more clearly and do better in school and at work

According to research, sleep can help memory and learning in two ways. First, proper sleep helps you focus well, and second, sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation, which is crucial to learning and processing new information.

Get along better with people

Ever been unnecessarily irritated with your family members or maybe with your colleagues? Well, it can be because of poor sleep. So, when you enjoy adequate slumber every day, you will be in better control of your emotions and will project a happier you! 

Make good decisions and avoid injuries 

Finally, sleep can help you make better decisions and avoid any injuries because better rest helps clear your mind and sharpen your focus and concentration. 

Drawbacks Of Not Getting Sufficient Sleep 

Now that you are well aware of all the benefits of sleep on physical health, let’s take a look at all the drawbacks. 


Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain and even obesity, which is not good for your physical health. When you don’t get the required amounts of sleep, i.e., 7 to 9 hours every night, it can lead to increased hunger and decreased energy as your body won’t be able to burn it properly. It also decreases your ability for physical activity. 

Heart Problems

Insomnia or sleep deprivation is linked to high blood pressure and even heart disease. This is because poor sleep can soon lead to unhealthy habits causing higher stress levels, unhealthy food choices, and more. 

Insulin management

If you have diabetes, less sleep can adversely affect your life, such as how you respond to insulin. Therefore, sleeping for at least 7 to 9 hours every day is important. 


While most of us just go through sleep and wake cycles without giving it much thought, sleep is imperative for our health. Proper sleep enhances your immune functioning and aids your physical health. 

Poor Cognitive Performance

Sleep loss can have determinate effects on cognitive abilities, such as memory, decision-making, and more. Therefore, a quality amount of sleep is essential for your physical health. 

Poor Memory Consolidation

Memory consolidation is a process where temporary memory is transferred to a long-lasting form in our brain. So, when you lose sleep or don’t get enough of it, the process of memory consolidation gets hampered. 

Mood disorders

Ever heard the statement, woken up on the wrong side of the bed? It means that you wake up in a bad mood. Well, when you are sleep deprived, you tend to feel cranky. And people who have chronic insomnia are at risk of developing mood disorders, such as anxiety. 

Effect on Growth and Development

Did you know? When someone experiences sleep loss regularly, it can suppress the growth hormones. That’s why children must get proper rest every night.

Cardiovascular disease and hypertension

When you enjoy a good night’s rest, your blood pressure decreases. And this can also reduce your risks of long-term hypertension and cardiovascular disease. 

Common Cold 

As aforementioned, lack of sleep can negatively affect your immune system. So, if you are exposed to a virus, you will likely get sick. So, for good physical health, sleep is vital.

How Much Sleep Do You Need By Your Age

Want to know how much sleep you need every night? Refer to the table below.

Age GroupAgeRecommended Hours of Sleep
Newborn0-3 months14-17 hours
Infant4-12 months12-16 hours
Toddler1-2 years11-14 hours
Preschool3-5 years10-13 hours
School Age6-12 years9-12 hours
Teen13-18 years8-10 hours
Adult19-60 years7 or more hours
61-64 years7-9 hours
65 years and older7-8 hours

5 Tips For Better Sleep Health

Some of the tips you can embrace to help you sleep well include;

Consistent Sleep Schedule:

To ensure you enjoy a good night’s rest, it is vital to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. This helps maintain the timing of your body’s internal clock, so you can sleep and wake up easily.

Prioritizing Sleep:

This is an easy-peasy step. It’s all about prioritizing your sleep and today, with social media, electronic devices and more, distractions can be all around you. Therefore, try to put your electronics down at least an hour before sleep. You can opt for relaxing activities, such as reading a book or listening to music.

Responsible Napping:

Sometimes, napping can be inevitable. But, don’t overdo it as it can interfere with your good night’s rest.

Relaxing Bedroom Environment:

To relish quality sleep, your room must be able to cater to your needs. So, ensure the temperature is optimal, the lights are turned off, etc. Make sure your bedroom’s environment relaxes you.

Healthy Habits:

  • Practicing a few healthy habits before bed can put you in the mood for sleep. This includes;
  • Brushing your teeth
  • Don’t overeat before bed
  • Take a warm bath if it helps
  • Shut down the electronics

Sleep is underrated but crucial for your health. Better sleep makes way for productive mornings that can help you accomplish your goals. So, follow the above steps and make sure you enjoy adequate sleep every night!


What is the relationship between health and sleep?

Good sleep aids good health because sleep allows your body to heal and repair.

Is sleep related to mental or physical health?

Sleep is related to both physical and mental health. Poor sleep can lead to stress, negatively affect your immune system and more.

Is getting adequate sleep an important part of physical health?

Yes, you need proper sleep for good physical health.

What happens if you don’t get enough physical activity?

Not getting enough physical activity can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and more.


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