Ah! The joy of sleeping! Along with being one of the most pleasurable activities known to man, it’s also got a whole bunch of health benefits. Read on for more!
If you’re not of the rare breed that worries about hours wasted while snoozing, you do love your daily dose of slumber. Perhaps you even look forward to it with unnatural enthusiasm. If so, you’re doing it right. Apart from being the most relaxing end to a long day, sleeping also has multiple health benefits.
Top 8 health benefits of sleep
- Reduces stress: In the case of sleep deficiency, the body’s functions enter a state of high alert, and cause an increase in blood pressure and production of stress hormones. The stress hormones make it harder to sleep and the higher blood pressure amplifies the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Boosts memory: In the time you’re asleep, the brain processes any new knowledge, organises the skills learned while awake, makes connections between events, feelings and memories, and sensory input. This helps you to process information and perform better.
- Healthier heart: A lack of sleep is often associated with increased blood pressure and cholesterol – factors directly responsible for heart ailments and strokes. Seven to eight hours of sleep will go a long way in promoting cardiovascular health.
Lowers inflammation: One of the most important benefits of sleep is that it helps to keep stress hormone levels in check. This allows the body to alleviate the levels of inflammation, which is known to increase the risk of heart-related diseases, premature aging, arthritis, cancer and diabetes.
Allows body repairs: The cells in the body produce more protein while you’re asleep, which aids the body in recovering from damage caused by stress, ultraviolet radiation, and other harmful exposures.
Lower risk of depression: Sleep has an impact on several chemicals in the body, including serotonin, which causes depression in people in the event of a deficiency. The right amount of sleep, close to 7 to 8 hours, can prevent the onset of depression by producing enough serotonin.
Weight management: Lack of sleep may lead to an imbalance of the ghrelin and leptin hormones, which are crucial in regulating appetite. Additionally, the same part of the brain that controls sleep also increases metabolism. So to maintain or control weight, it is imperative to get adequate sleep.
- Higher alertness levels: It follows logically that a good night’s sleep leads to more energy and alertness the next morning. This prepares the body for a day’s worth of activity and engagement, and increases the likelihood of another good night’s sleep. It’s a good circle to be caught in.
Tips for better sleep
No blue light: Switch off the television and computer, and keep away the cellphone an hour before bedtime. The short waves of blue light may interrupt sleep.
Avoid naps: Though the occasional 20-minute power nap is a real boost, avoid any shut-eye eight hours prior to bedtime, as that can make falling asleep at night more troublesome.
Save the bed for sleeping: Your bedroom should only be limited for rest and relaxation. Keep the money talk, phone conversations and TV viewing out the door.
Set a routine: Fix hours for when you sleep and wake up. This puts a healthy sleep cycle in place, and allows you to fall asleep quickly each night and sleep well through the night.
No caffeine: Caffeine interferes with deep sleep, so avoid even small amounts found in chocolate and decaf coffee anytime after noon.
Eat light: You know what they say about eating like a pauper at night? Follow it. Prepare light, small meals for the night to get high-quality sleep.
Stop smoking: If there aren’t enough reasons to kick the habit, here’s another: nicotine acts as a stimulant and can keep from falling asleep and worsen insomnia.
- Unwind: Though it may seem self-indulgent at first, fix a downtime routine an hour before bed each night. Take a warm bath, read a book, listen to soothing music and lower the lights to give your day the perfect close.
Next time your friends rib on you for being a sleepyhead, bring this list out. A regular habit of seven to eight hours of sleep will help you stay active daily and ahead of the pack by keeping serious ailments at bay.
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