There is one thing almost all of us wish for, yet we can rarely seem to get enough of it: sleep. Even though yawning and being tired all the time is quite frustrating, the lack of sleep is actually rather dangerous to your health. This may seem obvious, but it is really important. While we may not fully understand what sleep does for us, we all know that constant sleep deprivation leaves us feeling horrible and that a good night's sleep can help us feel refreshed and ready for anything. Many experts recommend getting roughly eight hours of sleep every night, but what does that actually do for you?
1. It prevents headaches
Some of the most common reasons for headaches are stress and anxiety. If you get stress headaches, a lot of rest will keep them at bay. Sleeping can also help you cope better with stress and anxiety. Being rested and energized gives you a clear head and helps to manage any unpredicted situation that may appear in your professional or personal life.
2. It improves your mood
As the old saying goes, “Getting up on the right side of the bed.” Even though the side of the bed doesn't matter, sleep can make you happier. And really, it makes sense. A good night's sleep leaves you feeling rested and refreshed, ready for a new day. When you're energized and in good spirits, you won't be as annoyed by life's little difficulties. Sleep deprivation can also lead to arguments with your partner and a reduced capacity to empathize. So, for an improved mood and improved relationship you can try to sleep enough and make sure you have good-quality sleep.
3. Enough sleep can prevent you from putting on unnecessary weight
Sleeping eight hours a day won't make you lose weight on its own, but it may prevent you from gaining weight. Insufficient sleep promotes the production of ghrelin, which increases your appetite. Additionally, you'll produce fewer leptins, a hormone that tells your body that you're full. As you are more stressed and low-energy as a result of lack of sleep, you are less able to resist junk food temptations.
4. Getting enough sleep boosts your immune system
Sleeping ensures that your immune cells and proteins are fighting shape and able to beat off colds, flu, and other infections. Also, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that proper sleep can make vaccines more effective, as a well-rested person can develop a powerful antibody response.
5. Getting enough sleep can improve productivity
Though you might think you're impressing your boss by working late, putting off getting a good night's sleep could have detrimental effects at work or school. The benefits of sleep include better concentration and better cognitive abilities, both of which contribute to greater productivity at work. However, one sleepless night can leave you feeling frazzled, increasing your likelihood of making mistakes. Although coffee can fix the afternoon crash, the extra caffeine late in the day could keep you awake another night. It is quite a vicious circle.
6. Sleep Improves Memory
While sleep provides your body with rest, your mind continues to work. While you sleep your mind processes and consolidates your memories.
An experience becomes a memory when it goes through three stages:
- Acquisition -- discovering or experiencing something new
- Consolidation -- stabilizing the memory in the brain
- Recall -- allowing future access to the memory
Acquiring and recalling information take place while you are awake. Nevertheless, many researchers claim that the consolidation of memory occurs during sleep. A lack of sleep makes it harder for your brain to retain and process new information.
7. Your heart can be strengthened by sleep
High blood pressure or heart attacks can be a result of not getting enough sleep. You can trigger your heart to work harder when you don't get enough or good-quality sleep, as cortisol, a stress hormone, is released. Similar to your immune system, your heart requires rest to work properly and powerfully.
8. Sleep can help you increase exercise performance
The duration and quality of sleep have an impact on all types of exercise. Sleep as recovery helps with hand-eye alignment, reaction time, and muscle recovery. A study published by Oxford Academy shows that mare sleep can improve timed sprint, shooting accuracy in basketball, increase vigor, and decreased fatigue. Additionally, the same study found that overall ratings of physical and mental well-being during practices and games were also higher when athletes slept more.
9. Boosts your sex life
The benefit of a steady sleep schedule is that it can keep testosterone levels high, prevent erection problems, and keep you energetic for sex. However, if you ignore your needs for sleep, you'll miss out on your "bed activities". A lack of sleep can reduce testosterone levels in men, the research found, and lower testosterone levels usually also affect sexual drive.
In a nutshell, sleep has plenty of benefits, is necessary, and is good. In his research, Dr. Roy Kohler, MD, who specializes in sleep medicine at SCL Health in Montana, called attention to studies that indicate people who sleep less frequently are overweight, eat more, have a higher BMI, and are more likely to suffer from diabetes.
While there will inevitably be peaks and dips in your sleeping patterns, we hope we motivated you to aim for roughly eight hours a night so you will maximize sleep's health benefits. Have problems sleeping enough or having a good-quality sleep? Keep track of your sleep patterns and create a nighttime routine to ease your body and mind. Sweet dreams!
Written by Adela