Getting enough quality sleep isn’t just about getting enough rest to awake feeling energized, although that is one important benefit. While we sleep, our bodies are hard at work healing, fighting off illness, and boosting the efficiency of various biological functions.
By learning how it positively affects your body and how you can improve the quality of your sleep, you’ll be on your way to living a healthier life.
What a Good Night’s Sleep Can Do For You
1. Boost Your Productivity
The amount of sleep you get has a profound impact on your ability to function and be productive. When you get seven to eight hours of quality sleep, you’re giving your brain the rest it needs to recharge. This is why people who sleep well experience more efficient cognitive functioning, better memory recall, and better mental clarity. All of this helps to boost productivity.
2. Control Your Weight
Sleep is also related to obesity and several studies have found that people who don’t get enough quality sleep tend to also be overweight or obese. Researchers have found that the flow of hormones that control appetite are disrupted by insufficient sleep. This is why you tend to be hungrier and eat more unhealthy foods when you’re overly tired.
3. Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attacks and Stroke
People who don’t get enough sleep are more prone to experience heart attacks and strokes. This is because poor sleep habits cause the blood vessels to constrict, leading to high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels. Getting the sleep you need will reduce stress, which helps alleviate the inflammation that causes the blood vessels to constrict.
4. Boost the Strength of Your Immune System
Insufficient sleep can weaken the immune system, which is why people who sleep less also get sick more often. In fact, one recent study found that people who don’t get enough sleep are up to three times more likely to contract the common cold and other viral illnesses.
5. Reduce Depressive Episodes
When you don’t get enough sleep, the brain produces lower levels of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for producing good feelings. The lower the level of serotonin, the more often you’ll experience bouts of depression. Alternatively, getting enough sleep will give the brain time to recharge and begin producing more neurotransmitters.
Tips for Sleeping Better
1. Relax Before Bed
Take the time to get your mind and body ready for sleep. This means stepping away from the electronic devices and indulging in some self-care. Meditation, taking a warm bath, reading, or listening to music are good ways to relax.
2. Evaluate Your Mattress
If you are having trouble sleeping, your bedding may be the problem. If you have an older bed, it may be a good idea to buy a new mattress. Additionally, try replacing sheets, pillowcases, blankets, and comforters with softer products of better quality. The bedroom is the one place you should promote luxurious living.
3. Eliminate Disruptions
There may be external factors keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep. If the room seems too bright, even with the lights off, try wearing a face mask to bed. Similarly, earplugs can reduce the interference that ambient noise causes, so your sleep won’t be disrupted.
If these suggestions don’t seem to help, you should consult your doctor. Prolonged sleep deprivation can have severe effects on the mind and body. Your doctor may recommend more lifestyle changes, such as eliminating caffeine from your daily routine, or he may prescribe medication. Making changes in your lifestyle may not be easy, but these steps will help you get the sleep your body needs to continue functioning.