People all over the world are becoming increasingly aware of the need to improve their health. They may work on eating the proper nutrition for their fitness workouts or cut down on alcohol and cigarettes. One major area that should never be ignored is our sleep. If we neglect it we do so at our peril, whilst if we maintain it our whole body reaps the benefits.
It may be that you’ve been thinking about how much sleep you take each night, and are wanting to keep yourself as well as possible. If that’s the case, this article will fill you in on the health benefits of having quality sleep on a regular basis.
What Is Sleep?
Sleep is what your body does when it’s at rest, and it can be broken down into two stages: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM). During REM you dream whilst during NREM you are in a deep sleep.
Your brain cycles through these different types of sleep throughout the night. It consolidates your memory and refreshes itself with nutrients from the food that was eaten days before.
How Can You Improve It?
Improving your sleep is not a one-time event. You need to make changes in order for it to be effective and long-lasting. Here are some practical tips:
- Find out where and when you get stressed during the day and try to avoid these triggers as much as possible
- Stop watching TV or browsing through social media before going to bed as the blue light from screens can affect your body’s sleep pattern
- Try sleeping 7 – 8 hours every night with disciplined times of going to bed and getting up
- Make sure there’s no noise or light while you’re trying to fall asleep – bring earplugs and an eye mask with you everywhere
- Avoid eating heavy meals late in the evening
- Don’t drink alcohol before sleeping – whilst it may help you fall asleep, it will interfere with its quality
- Don’t drink coffee in the evening because the caffeine will keep you awake
You’ll Be Less Likely To Put On Weight
If you’re finding it difficult to sleep at night, the chances are your weight will be affected. A lack of restful sleep can cause hunger cravings and changes in your metabolism. When we’re tired, our bodies long for sugars and carbohydrates which boost energy. The problem is that too much sugar or carbs can lead to weight gain.
Having a quality bed is another important way to ensure you get restful sleep each night. It’s worth going online and reading mattress reviews before you buy, as you can watch review videos and access flash sales. It’s possible to buy online and sign up for emails for added convenience.
You Reduce The Chance Of Developing Diabetes And Heart Disease
Diabetes is a medical condition that results in your sugar (blood glucose) levels being too high. Diabetes affects how the body uses food and gets energy from it. It can be prevented by sleeping well, staying at a healthy weight and taking more exercise.
Your chances of having heart disease go down if you get enough sleep, too. This is because there will be fewer inflammatory markers that will affect your cardiovascular system if you’re sleeping regularly.
You Reduce The Chance Of Developing Hypertension And Cancer
People who get less than six hours of quality sleep per night are much more likely to develop hypertension, which is the medical term for high blood pressure. Studies have shown that even one night of poor sleep can increase your risk.
Getting enough sleep each night can reduce your risk of cancer. It’s a scary word for anyone to hear and it should be taken seriously. There are over 100 types of cancer that have been identified by researchers so far, but all forms are dangerous in their own way.
Should someone develop cancer and begin to receive cancer treatments, it will often leave them feeling tired and weak. Insomnia is actually a major side effect of cancer treatments (especially chemo) and it can be hard to sleep with constant pain, nausea, muscle cramps, etc. Getting better quality rest each night will help reduce these symptoms and make your cancer treatment more bearable. It will also help your body heal quicker.
Your Immune System Will Be Protected
Your immune system is responsible for fighting off viruses and bacteria that may affect your body. If it is not strong enough some infections can take over, causing serious health problems such as pneumonia. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your immune system will become weak because your body needs a chance to rest and recuperate from the day before. Getting at least eight hours per night has been shown in many studies to boost our “natural killer cells” (white blood cells). They fight off infections and can help you avoid getting sick when everyone around you falls unwell.
There have also been studies linking people who sleep fewer than six hours a night to higher cholesterol levels and increased triglycerides, compared with those who typically slept seven or eight hours per night.
You Will Experience Better Moods And Less Stress
Our mental health and wellbeing are just as important as our physical health because one affects the other. This is why so many health professionals talk about holistic self-care. If you are stressed your body will respond to it, and it can also worsen mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. If you improve your sleep, all of these things will be positively impacted and you will respond better to challenging circumstances.
Many studies have found that improved sleep quality correlated with better results on cognitive tests. This means getting enough sleep helps us think clearly too.
Having read all these health implications it has now become clear just how important it is for you to work on your sleep quality and schedule. If you make some practical changes now they will benefit you for many years to come, and you’ll feel better than ever before.