Here I go talking about sleep again. Why? Because it’s a pain point, that’s why! We all know that it’s important to get enough sleep, we know how much we think we need, we know how we act when we haven’t had enough, and we know how we feel when we are tired and not sleeping well. However, there is more to it than just how you feel and how lack of sleep affects your mood or actions on a daily basis. The benefits of good sleep should never be underestimated and getting proper night’s sleep on a regular basis isn’t just a good idea, it is essential to your overall health. (Remember: Do as I say, not as I do…parenting 101 right?)
Sleep Helps To Reduce Stress
If you don’t get an adequate amount of sleep each night, your body can react by producing a high level of stress hormones. These hormones are a natural result of today’s faster-paced lifestyles so, in order to prevent this, you need to make sure you get a deep and regular sleep. I struggle with this a lot. I rarely get a full 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep….like almost never. Most of the time I feel like I get “enough” to function, but even I know I’d be less grouchy and probably more motivated (read: have more energy) if I had an adequate and regular sleep routine. No rest for the wicked….it sounds good on paper, but let me tell you, it’s a terrible idea. Trust me…just sleep.
Sleep Can Improve Your Memory
I mean obviously you’re sharper when you’re not exhausted. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that. Have you ever noticed that when you’re feeling really tired, you’re also quite forgetful? This is your brain’s way of telling you that it needs more sleep. When you have a good, deep and decent amount of sleep well, your body is resting. However, your brain is busy organizing and storing memories. Many people think of sleep as a time when the mind and body shut down, but the national sleep foundation says that sleep is still an active period in which a lot of important processing, restoration, and strengthening occurs. It states: “One of the vital roles of sleep is to help us solidify and consolidate memories. As we go about our day, our brains take in an incredible amount of information. Rather than being directly logged and recorded, however, these facts and experiences first need to be processed and stored; and many of these steps happen while we sleep.” You know how the computer freezes up and you have to unplug it, let it rest and they re-boot again later? Same thing, taking a break can help us work harder. So, getting more quality sleep will help you remember and process things better. Researchers have also shown that after people sleep, they tend to retain information and perform better on memory tasks. Our bodies all require long periods of sleep in order to restore and rejuvenate, to grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.
Again, just trust me and go take a nap now!
Sleep Can Lower Your Blood Pressure
Dude, listen. I didn’t now how important blood pressure was until mine was high and the Dr. explained the long term effects of maintaining an elevated blood pressure. For, instance having higher blood pressure increases your chance of having a heart attack or stroke. However, if you get plenty of decent sleep, it encourages a constant state of relaxation that can help reduce stress, reduce blood pressure and generally keep it under control.
Sleep Helps Your Body To Fight Back
While you are sleeping your body produces extra protein molecules that strengthen your ability to fight infection. If you’re feeling a little run down and you don’t want it to turn into a full-blown cold, one of the best things you can do is to go to bed early and get lots of rest.
Sleep Can Help You Maintain Your Weight
Sleep is not the answer to losing weight. However, it can help you keep it under control by regulating your hormones, which affect your appetite and reduce your cravings for high-calorie foods. Now I trust the scientists, so I’m not going to argue this point. If adequate sleep is going to help me with my weight struggles, or help make the weight loss process a little more beneficial, count me in. While it probably won’t make me a size two, at the very worst a little extra sleep can’t hurt.
Sleep Puts You In A Better Mood
Attitude and mood gets brought up in a lot of places…a recurring them if you will. What does that tell you? You probably know this already from your own experience, but just to confirm, lack of sleep can make you grumpy and more agitated. The better you sleep, the more likely you are to stay calm, controlled and reasonable. So shut it and go take a nap! We’ll talk later.
Sleep Could Reduce Your Chances Of Diabetes
Now this is a biggie. For everyone, but definitely for those of you like me, have a history of diabetes in the family, on all sides. It’s something everyone in our family monitors closely, and those that don’t already suffer from diabetes, are always “borderline” and under observation. If sleep helps reduce that risk, hurry up and take me to bed! According to Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams, Inadequate sleep, even moderate reductions for just one week, disrupts blood sugar levels so profoundly that you would be classified as pre-diabetic. Research has supported this and says that lack of sleep could lead to type 2 diabetes as it affects how your body processes glucose. Who knew?
Sleep Helps To Keep Your Heart Healthy & Body Pain Free
As mentioned above, if sleep can help to lower your levels of stress and inflammation to your cardiovascular system, which can reduce your chances of a stroke or heart condition. Matthew Walker also says that adults who are forty-five years or older and sleep fewer than six hours a night are 200 per cent more likely to have a heart attack or stroke during their lifetime, as compared with those sleeping seven to eight hours a night.
Also, if you have had a recent injury then getting plenty of sleep can actually help with the pain. Many studies have shown a link between lack of sleep and having a lower pain threshold, so the more sleep you get, the less pain you might be in. Whelp, if those that know say so, I better get on board…you know for science!
Sleep Is Good For The Brain
And what about our friend the brain? With us 24/7 but rarely does brain get a lot of kudos. Getting a quick nap during the day, along with a restful night’s sleep can also make your brain more effective and productive. After a nap, you should feel sharper, more attentive and focused throughout the day. Brain deserves it because without rest, no adulting can be done.
The Sleep Struggle
So, with all these reasons to get some serious shut eye, why should it be a problem? However, many people just can’t sleep, they either really struggle to nod off or they keep waking up. There are a few things you can do to really help you get a decent night’s sleep though.
The first thing is to make sure that you have a decent and comfortable mattress, have nice soft sheets and make sure that your bed is somewhere you really want to be. Then, it’s time to invest in some other bedroom accessories, get the best sleep mask you can find to block out any light, get some black out curtains, if your room is hot, make sure you have a fan, if it’s too cold then get a heater.
Ditch the Electronics
Finally, there are some behaviors you can practice to ensure the best night’s sleep and they include removing all electronic devices from your bedroom, don’t watch TV, go on your laptop or phone in bed. This will keep your brain active, so just use your bed for sleeping. Also don’t eat too late, drink less alcohol and go to bed early!
What keeps you from getting adequate sleep every night? Do you have any tips or tricks that help you rest better? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!