If you’ve been reading the site for a while you’ll have seen me talk about all the different ways we can get better sleep. However, I’m not sure I’ve really explained the benefits of good sleep. I intend to make that right as this article will go over some of the benefits you can expect.
We spend a third of our life asleep and it’s a very crucial part of our overall health. I feel that sleep isn’t given the priority it deserves by a lot of people. Especially given how busy peoples schedules can tend to be these days. However, if you want a better quality of life then sleep is paramount.
It’s a wonderful feeling to wake up and not be tired in the morning. And the knock-on effect of good sleep is one that can keep on giving. If you get to bed quickly, stay asleep all night and wake up feeling refreshed and keep that routine up, it will get easier each time.
Sleep more and live longer
A study in 2010 showed that sleep was crucial to live longer. This study was conducted in people over the age of 65 and showed that those that slept longer were less likely to have health problems. Some participants were over 100 years old and were 70 percent more likely to report good sleep. Interestingly it was also reported that men were 23 percent more likely to report sleeping well.
One of the benefits of good sleep is its effect on our quality of life. If your sleep quality is bad then you are at a greater risk of developing health problems. Those who suffer from anxiety are more likely to have lower sleep quality which could lead to them having one or more chronic diseases. Alongside these people with bad sleep quality are likely to struggle with menial tasks.
The authors of this study concluded that there seems to be a bidirectional relationship between sleep quality and the longevity of your health. And of course, if you are healthy, you may well live longer. So one of the best benefits of getting good sleep is living longer!!
The ways sleep can improve your health
If you could adjust your lifestyle to prevent things like heart attacks, strokes, and cancer, would you? Well one thing that may help this is getting better sleep. It is thought that heart attacks that occur in the early morning are more likely to cause more damage. In fact up to ⅕ more damage on the heart when compared with heart attacks that occur during the day.
This may be due to how vital good sleep can be. We do live in a time where getting to sleep, staying asleep, and waking up at an appropriate time can be hard to achieve. Sleep affects our blood vessels and not getting enough sleep can contribute to worsening blood pressure and cholesterol – which of course, can bring on strokes or heart disease.
Research shows that melatonin can protect against cancer as it may suppress the growth of tumors. The issue here arises in people who don’t sleep during night hours or have difficulty sleeping. Without the right balance of exposure to light it can affect your melatonin levels which means that there is less of the hormone to do its job against cancer.
You’ll be in a better mood
Sleep is essential for processing your day, unpacking your feelings, and organizing your memories. While you are sleeping your mind does these processes and with sufficient sleep it will react in the proper way. If your quality of sleep is lacking it is more likely you will have more negative reactions. With a lack of sleep you are more likely to develop a mood disorder. It can lead to depression, anxiety, and greater stress.
Sleep deprivation can cause your body to go into a state of stress. You will be highly strung and on edge. You may develop higher blood pressure and your body may ramp up production of cortisol – your body’s stress hormone. These mood disorders can in turn make it harder to fall asleep which is why it is important to practice relaxation techniques and create the perfect sleep environment.
On the other end of the spectrum, sleep is essential to learning and memory. If you are lacking sleep you may struggle with everyday conversations, or recalling certain details. However, getting plenty of quality sleep gives your brain the time it needs to process the day’s information and store memories that can be referred to later. Top tip! Instead of cramming in study at the last minute before a test, prioritize a good night’s sleep to retain those memories, you may need to call upon.
It will help you lose or maintain weight
Sleep is actually super important in any weight loss or fitness journey. You see, your body does a lot of work overnight to repair itself. If you workout, and lift heavy weights, you are essentially tearing your muscle tissue. Your body will then need to repair that tissue which is what ends up making you stronger. This process also burns a significant amount of calories which can be referred to as the afterburn effect. Building muscle is one of the best ways to lose weight but if you are getting poor sleep you are really limiting your own success
Even cardio can put a lot of stress on the body and getting a full night of quality rest will help your body to do what it needs to do. A lot goes on while we’re sleeping soundly. Our bodies love to sleep and it’s such a crucial part of any kind of fitness.
Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same part of the brain so it’s easy to see how they might work together. When you lack sleep it can cause hormone production which will increase your appetite. Research found that people who get less sleep are much more likely to be overweight or obese. If you are embarking on a weight loss journey then please don’t underestimate the role that sleep plays. Take these benefits of good sleep and start prioritising sleep tonight.
Get that good sleep
As always my mission is to encourage you to prioritize decent, quality sleep. If you need help then have a look around the site as we cover a wide range of topics relating to sleep health. This article has outlined why you should get good sleep but it’s the how that is the tricky bit.
If you struggle with falling asleep then there are many things you can do to give yourself the best chance. Retraining your brain to accept bedtime for when it should be will help you have a better life.