We spend around a third of our lives asleep. Modern life pushes us to be available 24×7, encouraging us to stay up later and wake up earlier in a bid to live life fully. However, this is a serious mistake. Sleep should be seen as an investment in your physical and mental health, and this is backed by numerous studies. And while we’re often pushed to work longer hours and keep tight sleeping schedules, this can backfire and have disastrous effects on our productivity. Here are five ways sleep makes you feel and look healthier.
Anyone who has dealt with a cranky toddler in need of a nap knows that a lack of sleep takes a toll on your mood. In adults, a lack of sleep causes irritability. Conversely, more sleep equals a lower stress level. Over time, good sleeping habits lead to a lower risk of depression.
A good night’s sleep improves your brain function, as well. For example, sufficient high-quality sleep improves your memory. Don’t pull an all-nighter to study. Study hard, then take a nap. Your brain uses that time to strengthen memories. A Harvard Study suggests this may spur creativity, too, because it strengthens the emotional components of memory.
On the flip side, being tired during the day hurts your productivity. Insufficient sleep and interrupted breathing problems are correlated with problems with attention and performance in school children, and the same is true of adults. For example, adults who are severely sleep deprived are as dangerous on the road as drunk drivers. However, if you get enough sleep, you’ll feel and do better in life.
Even a partial night of sleep deprivation leads to deterioration in cell growth and division. That will lead to reduced healing and accelerated aging over time. Proper sleep will prevent those under-eye circles that make you look older, too. Proper sleep combined with day and night anti-wrinkle cream can help you fight the signs of aging. If you don’t know where to find the right one, check OGLF’s round-up, they tested various wrinkle creams in their lab. This will help you get the most out of your beauty sleep.
There are several ways of getting enough sleep can help you stay fit. If you’re exhausted because you stay up too late, you’re not going to have the stamina for your workout the next day. If you’re trying to diet, a lack of sleep gets in the way. When you’re exhausted, your body craves sugar and fat to get an energy boost. You’re hungrier, too, throughout the day. Conversely, a University of Chicago study found that “well-rested” dieters lost more weight than those who didn’t. This means that if you want to lose weight, you can start with an earlier bedtime. Lose those extra pounds, and you’ll both look and feel great.
Both too much and too little sleep are associated with a shorter life expectancy. The former may be due to how various health problems leave us chronically tired. However, you can take steps to get enough sleep, giving your body a chance to renew itself, improving your overall health. For example, one 2010 study of women between 50 and 80 found that those who had less than five hours of sleep at night were unhealthier compared to those who had adequate sleep. Other research shows that those with less than six hours of sleep at night have higher levels of inflammatory proteins. These proteins are linked to stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and premature aging.
Get enough sleep or treat disorders like sleep apnea that interfere with a good night’s sleep, and your blood pressure and inflammation protein levels go down. This improves overall health. This is why treating sleep apnea and other sleep disturbances as well as solving your insomnia is a priority for your doctor.
Another area that is directly correlated with sleep is the immune system. If you want to be able to keep your body’s immune cells in fighting shape and have fewer sick days, then you should make sure that you get enough sleep at night and keep a steady sleep schedule. Not only that, but it has also been shown that proper sleep improves the efficiency of vaccines as well. People who are well rested have a better immune response to them, which allows them to build ample amounts of the antibodies needed to fight whatever disease you were vaccinated for.
Now that we know how sleep affects our health and everyday lives, there are a few things that you can do to have a good night’s sleep. One of the most important things to understand is how your circadian rhythm or internal clock works, and how it can be disrupted.
Your circadian rhythm is heavily influenced by light and we use light to gauge whether it’s the day or night-time. That means that various sources of lights, including artificial ones, could confuse your circadian system into thinking that it’s still daytime. It’s also dependant on getting enough sunlight during the day as well.
This means eliminating any type of artificial light at least two hours before going to sleep. Another thing you should avoid is to spend too much time working from your bed. Your brain will start to associate the bed with work and not sleep. Instead, try to work in a designated spot in the house, and at a desk if possible. Also, know that getting exercise during the day is a great way to get better sleep, but you should refrain from intense cardio exercise just before going to bed.
Sleep is as important to our health as diet and exercise. Get enough sleep each night because you’ll appreciate how well it improves your mood and appearance, even as it improves your odds of a long, healthy life.