The Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep
We all know it’s important to get enough sleep. But sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and still manage 7-9 hours of shut-eye. So, how important is it really? It turns out…it’s one of the best things you can do for your health and wellbeing. Not only it is crucial to feeling well-rested and alert – sleep is also necessary for your body to recharge, repair and restore itself. When you sleep, your body doesn’t just shut down – it’s hard at work all night keeping you ship-shape. And if you regularly dip below 7 hours of sleep, your mind and body will suffer. Here are just a few reasons why it’s so worth it.
Sleep Helps You Maintain a Healthy Weight.
We might associate weight loss with exercise and diet, but sleep is an important ingredient as well. Studies show that sleeplessness is one of the biggest risk factors for obesity – increasing your risk by up to 55%. One big reason is hormones. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body creates an excess of ghrelin, the hormone which boosts appetite. And, at the same time, you create less leptin, the hormone that tells you when you’re feeling full.
And if that wasn’t enough, just use a little common sense to see how else a sleepless night can lead to weight gain: when we’re tired and irritable, we’re much more likely to reach for junk foods rather than fruits, veggies and whole grains. Plus, when we’re tired, we tend to feel less motivated to exercise. And finally, the longer we’re awake – the more likely we are to go for a midnight snack or “fourth meal”! All in all, a recipe for a less than ideal diet.
Sleep Makes You Smarter.
Ever try doing some problem solving after a really late night? It feels like your cognitive functioning is just…gone. And in fact, that is just what happens when you skip out on sleep. One study found that sleep deprivation can impair some aspects of brain function just as much as drinking too much alcohol – and another found that medical interns on a low-sleep schedule were 35% more likely to make serious mistakes. On the other hand, getting enough sleep is a great way to improve your memory and your critical thinking skills.
Sleep Improves your Athletic Performance.
Planning to hit the gym? Make sure you got enough shut-eye the night before. A good night’s sleep improves your speed, agility, hand-eye coordination and even your muscle recovery post-workout. One study on basketball players showed that longer sleep times significantly improved their performance on the court – and their mental wellbeing in general. And on the other side of the coin, trying to exercise without getting enough sleep can negatively affect your performance in a major way.
Sleep Keeps You Healthier.
Along with getting enough exercise and maintaining a balanced diet, sufficient sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health and longevity. Getting enough sleep lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as diabetes. In one study, young men went with 4-6 hours of sleep per night for a week and emerged with symptoms of pre-diabetes! Luckily, after one week of longer sleep, the symptoms were resolved. And that’s not the only way sleep deprivation can affect your wellbeing. It’s also a huge factor in mental health. An estimated 90% of people with depression report issues with sleep quality. In other words…you really owe it to yourself to try and get at least 7 hours per night.
Okay. How Can I Get More Sleep?
Anyone else feel like getting to bed extra early tonight? Us too. The amazing news is that you can erase your “sleep debt” by getting enough sleep for just a few nights in a row. So, here are some tips to help make that happen.
- Set a schedule. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time, all the time. Even weekends.
- Try to take time for yourself to relax before bed, whether it’s reading a book or listening to music – without your phone on hand.
- Eat smart. Don’t snack less than 2-3 hours before your bedtime, and seek out foods that help you get enough rest.
- Set yourself up. Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable, and that your bedroom is sufficiently dark.
- Drink less. Try to avoid midnight bathrooms breaks by skipping that beverage before bed. And cut back on alcohol…it might help you get to sleep, but it has been shown to wake you back up later in the night, preventing you from getting enough rest.
Now take 7-8 hours and call us in the morning! Did we miss your favourite tip for getting enough sleep? Let us know! Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.