Sleep is vital for both looking and feeling good. In fact, the benefits of sleep include disease prevention too. It is recommended that we should be getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night to enjoy the full range of benefits of sleep.
A good night’s rest is beneficial for:
1. Heart health:
Heart attacks and strokes occur in the early hours of the morning and it is believed that sleep’s interaction with the blood vessels may play an important part in this. A lack of sleep has been found to be associated with higher cholesterol and blood pressure which may lead to heart attacks and strokes.
2. Weight loss:
Getting the right amount of sleep can actually help you lose weight, adding to the list of the benefits of sleep. A lack of sleep affects the hormones in the body that are associated with regulating appetite, namely ghrelin and leptin. It is therefore essential to maintain a lifestyle with adequate amounts of sleep if you want to lose weight. People who get less than 7 hours of sleep are more likely to be obese or overweight.
3. Improved memory:
Sleep and dreaming are your brain’s way of going over your day, sensory input, feelings and memories. Deep sleep is believed to be important for the brain to make memories and links, thus getting more sleep helps to remember and process things better.
4. Lowering your risk for depression:
Sleep affects your levels of serotonin. People with lower levels of serotonin are more likely to suffer from depression. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night helps to keep your serotonin in check.
5. Helping the body repair itself:
The body repairs damage that is caused by stress, ultraviolet rays and various other harmful substances you may have been exposed to during the day. When you sleep your body produces protein cells that repair the body.
6. Assisting in the prevention of cancer:
Our bodies create melatonin which regulates the “sleep-wake” process and protects against cancer via light. People who work the night shift are at higher risk of cancer than those who work the day shift.
7. Reduces stress:
If your body does not get enough rest it starts to go into a state of stress, causing a state of high alert and high blood pressure. The stress hormones also make it harder to fall asleep. You can try relaxation techniques to counteract the stress and to help you fall asleep faster. Read this blog to learn how you can address your stress levels.
8. Naps can make you smarter:
Napping during the day refreshes the mind and is good for your overall health. Napping can make you more productive since it improves your mood, cognitive functioning and memory. People who take naps during work breaks are also believed to be less stressed than those who do not.
9. Making you more alert:
A good night’s rest leaves you feeling more energised and alert the next day. People who are well rested are generally more active during the following day which results in another good night’s rest, repeating the pattern of good sleep.
10. Reducing inflammation:
Inflammation causes the body to deteriorate as we age. An inadequate amount of sleep raises the levels of inflammation causing cancers, heart diseases and diabetes.
Start incorporating these changes into your lifestyle to enjoy the full benefits of sleep.