We all hear that sleep is important, but you may be asking yourself ‘what exactly is the importance of sleep?’
Quality sleep is a pillar of health, in addition to healthy eating and exercise. Sleep has a significant impact on both your mind and body as it is the time when you get to rest and recover after each day.
Unfortunately, many people in the Western world find that they do not get quality sleep every night or even more than a couple times per week. But it is crucial that everyone does his or her best to get quality sleep every night. Without it, health problems and the habit of running on low quality sleep or even adrenaline can max out your body and mind’s ability without proper support
Let’s go on to discover the importance of sleep.
The importance of sleep
Quality sleep enables your body and mind to be at their best when it comes to stress reduction and curbing stress-related diseases.
Helps your brain stay sharper
When dealing with not having had enough sleep, many people experience brain fog or as if their mind just isn’t quite as sharp. Poor sleep can affect negatively many aspects of brain function, such as cognition, productivity and performance.
If you have experienced a night of poor sleep, regulating emotions may not be as per usual the following day. Your ability to interact socially and even your general level of happiness can be greatly impacted by quality sleep loss.
Read also: How to fall asleep fast
Quality sleep greatly improves concentration and maximizes problem-solving skills.
Sleep clears your mind
When you sleep, your brain has time to ‘clear’ out accumulated bad toxins.
Aid in weight loss
Your appetite hormone, ghrelin, is what stimulates appetite. When you get quality sleep, it helps to maintain your daily fluctuation of ghrelin.
If weight loss is a goal of yours, quality sleep is essential. Short sleep duration has even been found to be one of the strongest risk factors for obesity.
Help to avoid late night snacking
Many people have experienced or struggled with unnecessary or impulsive ‘late night snacking’. Rather than staying up late at night watching television (instead of getting quality sleep!) and being tempted with the snack cabinet, getting in bed at a decent time for some proper rest is much more beneficial for your health.
Enhance athletic performance
Sleep has been linked to enhanced athletic performance, including improved speed and reaction times.
Improved immune system
Your immune system is constantly working to keep you healthy, and when you sleep it gives your immune system a boost as it can focus on its processes in a relaxed state.
The recommended number of hours of sleep for a proper night’s rest is 7-9 hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Now if you struggle with getting the recommended hours per night or even the amount of hours that best supports your own unique body, there are a few things that you can do to promote more of and quality sleep.
- Turn off all technology at least one hour before bed.
The blue light from technology and staring at a screen keeps your brain stimulated and not in the best space to slip into a quality night of sleep. Turn off technology at least one hour before bed, and instead try a relaxing activity such as reading a book, talking with a loved one, meditating, stretching, etc.
- Dim the lights in your home / turn off unnecessary lights.
Let your body understand that it’s nighttime by adjusting your lights accordingly. You can even light candles or turn on a Himalayan salt lamp for soft lighting.
- Drop the temperature.
Adjust your thermostat so that it is cooler in the evenings and/or open your windows so you get cool, fresh air at night. You can always add blankets if it’s cold, but you can’t quite make an uncomfortably hot night cooler!
- Get on a sleep schedule.
When your body is on its own rhythm, it can make it a lot easier to both get to sleep at night and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning. So rather than waking up at 6am some mornings and 10am other mornings, choose a time that consistently works for your schedule and lifestyle. Even though it can be tempting to sleep in on the weekends, try to wake up at the same time for a few weeks and see how your body does.
- Sleep in the dark.
Streetlights and lighting from other parts of your home can keep you awake during the night, so do your best to create a dark space for quality rest. You can invest in a blackout shade or blinds to help with light coming in from the outside.
- Use a weighted blanket.
A weighted blanket helps to both be in a calm and relaxed space. It can help you sleep soundly throughout the night.