Ever wondered why we call a full eight hours ‘beauty sleep?’ It’s because getting enough sleep is vital to keeping your body and mind healthy. And shockingly, research suggests that as much as 19% of American adults just aren’t getting enough of it.
Sleep improves our immune system and balances our body weight. When it comes to the brain, sleep regulates our moods, boosts our memory, and ensures we’re quick on our feet. Basically, without enough sleep, you won’t be living your best life.
Read on to learn in detail about the benefits of a good night’s rest.
One of the most incredible benefits of sleep is how it regulates our immune function–something critically important in this post-Covid world. By getting enough sleep every night, you’re helping your body rest and repair its germ-fighting mechanism.
Our immune system generates cytokines, a type of protein, as we slumber. These proteins help us to fall asleep, and they also protect us when we’re sick.
Conversely, a lack of sleep can damage the proteins and cells that make up your immune system. They’ll be slow to attack invaders, like cold and flu viruses, meaning you may get sicker more often. They’ll also struggle to build immunity for future attacks, leaving you vulnerable to the same strains again and again.
By getting a good amount of sleep at night, you may ensure you’ll spend a day rather than days or weeks in bed next time you catch a nasty stomach bug.
Keep the pounds off
Recent research from Korea even suggests that lack of sleep alone is an important factor in weight gain.
Good sleep helps us regulate our appetites. Not getting enough can make it more difficult to control what you reach for when you open the fridge or take a trip to the supermarket. This is because a lack of sleep wrecks havoc on the hormones like ghrelin and leptin that make you feel hungry.
If you’re suffering from a bout of insomnia or working late a few nights in a row, you might find yourself overeating. You’ll crave fatty and sugary foods or refined carbs like bread, potato chips, and doughnuts, even if you typically enjoy a balanced, healthy diet.
Try to ensure your bedroom time has as much of a place in your schedule as meal planning and time spent at the gym. Supplements like tasty sleep vitamin gummies can help to ensure that time is as refreshing and hormone-balancing as possible.
Stunning skin and hair
Are you still wondering why get sleep? Maybe a promise of shiny hair and vibrant skin will help convince you.
As we mentioned earlier, one of the functions of sleep is to help your cells create new proteins. These proteins are the building blocks of said cells–they make them to repair any damage caused by free radicals, stress, UV rays, and a whole ton of over nasty things.
So if you want to blossom into a true sleeping beauty, make sure you make time in your life for a good seven or eight hours of rest every day. At least one thing for sure, you’ll be spending a lot less time making yourself look, well, alive, with the brightener and hair masks.
Think of all the time you’ll save to enjoy that morning coffee instead!
Stay mentally fit
Sleep plays an integral part in the way your brain remembers and stores information.
It helps you retain things you’ve learned throughout the day, storing them in your noggin subconsciously for later recall. Dreaming also plays a role in memory consolidation, and getting a whole night’s sleep ensures you experience the entire sleep cycle necessary for dreaming.
Having a nap might also be beneficial for brainpower.
Some studies suggest an afternoon nap is as good an energy boost as a cup of coffee. Workers who take a quick sleep break during the day have less stress, and their mood, cognitive function, and memory improve.
But how much sleep constitutes a nap? Learn the art of power napping to really take advantage of this lazy man’s level-up.
Improve your mood
We’ve all felt invigorated at least once or twice following a refreshing night’s sleep. And everyone’s likely also felt that encroaching irritability that comes after disturbed slumber. That’s where the phrase “woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning” comes from, after all.
So it’s probably no surprise to learn that sleep affects a person’s mood. Research demonstrates that sleep deficiency alters brain activity. This might make it challenging to regulate your emotions, make decisions, and cope with change, at least to some degree.
Those who have a mental illness may experience exacerbated symptoms if they don’t get enough sleep. Sleep helps to control your body’s production of serotonin, among other chemicals.
While a good seven to nine hours sleep a night, every night, isn’t a cure, it can help keep your mind–and mood–in balance.
Future-proof your heart
Not getting enough shut-eye might make you more susceptible to developing a wide range of chronic illnesses. Heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, to name a few.
Astonishingly, research shows that strokes and heart attacks happen more frequently in the early morning than in the evening. They are also more severe if they occur at this time. This could be due to the way sleep regulates your blood vessels, and poor sleep also contributes to blood pressure and high cholesterol–both risk factors for these life-threatening attacks.
For example, sleep longer, and your blood pressure will go down. What to know is that the reverse is true for someone who sleeps just a few hours a night.
Living your best life: Too much sleep?
Is there such a thing as too much sleep? In actual fact, there is. While everyone is, of course, different, research has found that more than nine hours of sleep can be detrimental to your wellbeing. Ensure you’re living your best life by aiming for seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
Head back to our website and browse our other articles to learn how to improve your health, wealth, and home.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.