04 Oct Benefits of Getting Adequate Sleep
Good sleep is vital for our overall health and wellbeing. Even without fully understanding how good sleep benefits us, we know very well that lack of it for long periods makes us feel terrible, and a good sleep makes us feel fresh and ready to take on the world. Adequate sleep varies with different people, but research suggests that the optimal sleep amount ranges between seven and nine hours for adults (1).
Adequate sleep is incredibly important to our health. As a matter of fact, adequate sleep is just as vital as exercising and eating healthy. Sadly, our sleep has suffered at the expense of our technological western lifestyle. People are now sleeping much less than ever before and the quality of sleep has also deteriorated, which is dangerous to our physical and mental health.
1. Inadequate Sleep Can Make You Gain Weight
Lack of sleep can make cause obesity. People, who usually sleep for shorter durations than is recommended, tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate sleep. In fact, inadequate sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity in both children and adults. Adequate sleep helps regulate the hormones that affect appetite and reduces cravings for high calories food. If you are keen on maintaining or losing weight, then getting the best sleep is vital.
2. Healthy Heart
Adequate sleep helps keep your heart healthy. Although it does not make you immune, it lowers the risk levels of heart attacks and diseases. Strokes and heart attacks are most likely to happen during early morning hours, which is possibly due to how sleep interacts with blood vessels. Lack of sleep has been linked with increased blood pressure and cholesterol, which are major causes for stroke and heart attack.
3. Proper Functioning of the Brain
Good sleep is important the functioning of the brain. Adequate sleep helps improve concentration, cognition, performance and productivity. Inadequate sleep impairs the functioning of the brain, negatively affecting concentration, cognition, productivity and performance.
4. Mental Health
Optimal sleep helps improve mental health. Mental health issues, such as depression, are linked to sleeping disorders. Getting optimal sleep helps the brain to balance the chemicals that regulate our moods better. If these chemicals fall out of line, they can cause depression. Getting the best sleep sets you in a good mood. Lack of it makes you feel agitated, and you are likely to be angry with everyone and everything to the extent of having suicidal thoughts sometimes. Having the best sleep makes you calm, reasonable and controlled. It helps to reduce stress
5. Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Inadequate sleep can cause type 2 diabetes. Lack of sleep affects glucose metabolism in our bodies. It affects blood sugar levels and decreases insulin sensitivity. Many research studies have indicated a strong link between short sleep duration and type 2 diabetes (2). In healthy adults, lack of sleep causes pre-diabetes in as little as six days.
6. Memory Boost
Getting the best sleep boosts your memory. Have you ever noticed that when you are tired you barely remember anything? Essentially, it’s your brain trying to communicate to you that it is not getting adequate sleep. When you sleep, the body may be resting, but the brain remains active in organizing and storing memories. Adequate sleep can help you focus, think clearly, make good decisions and have a better memory.
7. Immunity Boost
Catching enough sleep helps in boosting immunity (3). Even small loss of sleep impairs immunity. People who get optimal sleep have stronger immunity and are less likely to fall sick compared to those who sleep for much less time than the recommended sleep time. Having a strong immunity prevents you from catching flu, bug and cold. Sleep helps the body to fight back too. When sleeping, the body generates protein molecules that protect the body from infection. In case you are feeling a bit run down, you may want to retire to bed earlier and get plenty of rest, to avoid it turning into a full-blown cold.
Tips on getting the best sleep
So, how can you get the best sleep? Here a few tips on getting the best sleep.
1. Bedroom hygiene
Of course, the first thing is to ensure is that you have a comfortable mattress and pillows. The mattress should be comfortable and supportive. Ensure you change your mattress when it reaches its life expectancy – a quality mattress should serve around nine years. The room should also be clean and inviting for sleep.
2. 4-7-8 breathing method
Apply the 4-7-8 breathing method to help you fall asleep fast. 4-7-8 is a breathing technique that helps the nervous system to relax. It is a simple method, but an effective method to promote relaxation and calmness helping you fall asleep in a minute. The first step is to close your mouth and inhale through your nose to a mental count of four seconds. Hold your breath for seven seconds. And finally exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound for eight seconds. Repeat this pattern for at least three more times.
3. Stick to your sleep schedule
Have a sleep schedule and stick to it. Make it a habit of going to bed at a set time and waking up at a set time too, even on weekends. The body has a self-regulating system called circadian rhythm. Sticking to a sleep schedule makes the internal clock adjust to that schedule. This makes it easy to fall asleep and wake up about the same time daily.
4. Avoid caffeine too late in the day
Avoid consuming caffeine too late in the day. Caffeine has several benefits to the body. It enhances energy, focus and physical performance. However, when consumed too late in the day, it may make it difficult for the nervous system to relax during the night making it difficult for the body to fall asleep.
Other ways of getting the best sleep include exercising, yoga, and meditation, listening to relaxing music, avoiding long naps during the day among others.
Throughout your life sleep plays an important role in your health and wellbeing. Adequate sleep is vital for our physical and mental health among other benefits. Lack of sleep can be very frustrating, but the above-mentioned methods can assist you to fall asleep you very fast.
Get adequate sleep, live a healthy, happy life.