With working hours, commuting times and stress levels on the rise, getting a good night's sleep these days may not be high on your priority list. In fact, in today's society, people are getting less shut-eye than ever, and sleep quality is decreasing too.
But the benefits of a good night's sleep should never be underestimated when it comes to improving your physical and mental wellbeing. So if you need persuading to hit the hay an hour or two earlier, rather than watching your third episode of The Crown, read on. Here are 5 reason why getting more sleep will make you feel lighter, brighter and better.
1. Good Sleep Can Improve Concentration, Learning Ability & Memory Retention
While your body rests during sleep, your brain is hard at work. This is the time when your brain focuses on processing and sorting the information from the day, which is particularly important when it comes to creating long-term memories.
Studies suggest that during sleep, the brain replays waking events in the hippocampus, which underlie memory consolidation and allow the brain to store these memories away for future use.
2. Reduces Inflammation & Strengthens Your Immunity
While you’re sleeping, your immune system releases a type of protein called cytokines. If you’re sick or injured, these cytokines help your body fight infection and trauma, so if you feel yourself coming down with a cold, or are recovering from an injury, increasing sleep really is one of the best things you can do.
You've also likely heard of the latest health buzzword "inflammation", and for good reason. Inflammation is linked to a wide range of chronic illnesses and prevalent diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and premature ageing. Research indicates that people who sleep for six or less hours a night have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get more.
3. Improves Athletic Performance
Whether you're a novice runner, play tennis on the weekend or are training for a triathlon, getting enough sleep has been shown to improve athletic performance.
Several studies suggest that while a lack of sleep will leave you feeling slow and lethargic, getting enough shut-eye will significantly improve speed, stamina, reaction times and result in a decrease in daytime fatigue.
4. Reduces Stress
Sleep is a powerful stress reducer given its ability to calm and restore the body, improve concentration, regulate mood and sharpen your decision-making. For this reason, when you're in a good sleeping routine, you're a better problem solver and are better able to cope with stress when you’re well-rested.
As you've probably experienced, lack of sleep renders you more emotionally reactive, more impulsive and more sensitive to negative stimuli. These sleep-driven cognitive impairments can give rise to stress in any number of ways, from creating difficulty in relationships to causing problems with job performance.
5. Improves Your Mood
Ever felt irritable, grumpy and just plain over it after a bad night's sleep? Yeah, us too. Research suggests that sleep deprivation enhances negative mood due to increased amygdala activity. This is a part of the brain structure that allows us to experience negative emotions such as anger and rage: in other words, sleep loss leads to increased negative mood, and decreased ability to regulate that anger.
So the next time you feel a bout of road rage coming on, or find yourself unwillingly snapping at your children, Both you and your children will be the better for it!
Try out these tips for getting a better night's sleep:
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