Sleep is seemingly at a premium today, but this is worse than many might think. A good night’s sleep provides benefits which are not immediately obvious but are nonetheless crucial to function and live your best life. Here’s a brief guide to how a good night’s sleep supports your life and your cognition over the course of your day.
Sleep Promotes Heart Health
Sleep helps relax your muscle and keep your body at ease, which is helpful for keeping your heart healthy and preventing diseases such as heart failure and stroke. Heart attacks are actually more likely to occur during the early morning hours because blood vessels are tighter in the morning.
But waking up early after a poor or short night’s sleep can actually increase chances of a heart attack or stroke. Sleep is also great for improving poor cholesterol and blood pressure.
Sleep Reduces Stress
When the body doesn’t get enough sleep, it enters a state of increased stress and “flight or fight” mentality. Sleep reduces the stress your body feel because it helps relax your muscles and keep your heart at ease for a few hours per night.
Those who don’t get enough sleep are also more tired during the day, which also increases stress and keeps the body on edge throughout the day. When the body enters this stress state, blood pressure spikes and stress hormones are produced at greater levels, which is terrible for bodily health and longevity.
Sleep Helps Prevent Inflammation
Many diets today are poor and lead to an excess of inflammation in many parts of the body, including the all-important gut. Receiving inadequate each night stops the body from healing itself and thus leads to a greater amount of inflammation.
Stress hormones released because of a lack of sleep also increase inflammation and cause extreme intestinal distress in many. Increased inflammation has also been linked to a greater chance of cancer and diabetes in those with poor sleep schedules.
You’re More Alert During Waking Hours
Getting an adequate amount of sleep every night does wonder for your energy levels and will make you far more alert during the day. Sleeping at least seven hours per night gives your body adequate rest and makes you ready to face the day and keep on your toes no matter what challenges you face.
Staying engaged and alert doesn’t just feel great; it also helps you get a good night’s sleep at night because your energy levels have been stable throughout the day.
Sleep Helps You Remember Activities and Information
Researchers have recently discovered that sleep plays a vital role in what’s called “memory consolidation.” During this time, which happens when we sleep, memories you’ve made throughout the day are formed and stored within the brain for easy recall.
Disrupting sleep cycles disrupts this process and makes the formation of memories far more difficult and unlikely. This can affect you later in life as well, as seniors who don’t get adequate sleep have a far harder time remembering what they’ve done during the day than those who slept peacefully and long enough.
You Can Lose Weight and Keep it Off
People who sleep less at night than others are more probable to be overweight or obese according to new research which was conducted in recent years. Though researchers need to study the correlation further to discover exactly why this happens, it’s absolutely essential to get enough sleep if you plan on losing weight or keep recently lost weight off.
Some scientists think that the imbalance of hormones which occurs when you don’t get enough sleep is responsible for this weight gain. In short, if you want to lose weight, don’t undervalue the power of a good night’s sleep.
Sleep May Reduce Depression
This is a great reason to get a good night’s sleep. When you sleep, your brain secretes many chemicals, including one called serotonin. Serotonin keeps other chemical levels in check and is primarily responsible for keeping moods and emotions out of flux.
When you don’t get enough sleep per night, this serotonin production is inhibited, and you may feel depressed during the day. Experts recommend between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to keep serotonin levels in check and tendencies of depression in check.
Your Body Repairs Itself as You Sleep
Finally, one of the best reasons to sleep the entire recommended seven to nine hours per night is let your body repair itself and regenerate. During the day, your body is in constant use and you may not realize how much wear and tear you’re causing it throughout the day.
At night, as you sleep, the body slowly heals, getting you ready for the next day and a long, healthy life. This healing occurs at a cellular level, as the protein within your cells is largely responsible for healing your body. Less sleeping time means less time for this protein to make the necessary fixes it needs to make throughout the night.
Sleep is incredibly important for a variety of reasons. Many people don’t get enough sleep nowadays but this is a terrible habit which will wreak havoc years down the road. If you want to live a long and healthy life, it’s imperative to get plenty of sleep each night and set your schedule to be regular and adequate for the number of hours of sleep you need per night.