When you think about it, sleep is pretty important. It’s when you rest your body, repair your muscles, replenish your brain, and generally get everything ready to go for the next day. It’s no wonder that most people don’t get enough of it—it’s also one of the first things to be cut out of people’s schedules to be more productive at work. But what if getting more sleep isn’t just beneficial? What if it’s essential?
Better decision making
If you’re always well-rested, you’ll be able to process information more quickly and make intelligent decisions. Sleep is vital if you want to avoid making foolish errors and bad decisions. A well-rested mind prevents impulsive mistakes, like overeating or drinking too much at a party. Instead of rushing into these behaviors because they seem like fun at that moment, you can take time to consider other options that are better for your long-term health.
A good night’s sleep can do wonders for mental and physical performance. It keeps you sharp, but it also helps your body recover and recharge. In addition to helping your brain work more efficiently, better sleep habits help boost metabolism and lessen cravings, leading to healthier eating choices. And, of course, there are other benefits: Studies have shown that getting enough shut-eye has been linked to lower stress levels and even weight loss.
There’s lots of evidence that sleep helps consolidate and store memory in our brains. In one famous study, volunteers were taught pairs of words; some were allowed to sleep while others remained awake. When later asked to recall them, those who had slept during their break remembered more word pairs than those who stayed awake.
Helps heal injuries
We tend to think of sleep as being about downtime, but many athletes and coaches believe it’s one of our most productive times. During deep sleep (the kind that happens during REM), we release growth hormone, which helps us build and repair muscle. That’s why athletes try to set their alarms early—they want to maximize their hours of deep sleep. Research shows that sleeping too little or too much can inhibit muscle growth. And yes, sleeping enough means eight hours—no more, no less. Anything else might be just as bad for your body as not getting enough sleep!
It gives you more energy.
Studies show that sleeping more can help improve your memory, sharpen your attention, and make you more alert. These sleep boosts may be because your brain has more time to recover from daily tasks and events when you get enough shut-eye. The following day, your mind will feel refreshed, and you’ll have extra energy to deal with new challenges. Sleep will improve your cognitive abilities, but it can also give you more stamina to work out. If you’re having trouble getting up in time for an early workout session or staying active throughout the day wears you out too quickly, consider kicking back earlier than usual before hitting the gym. You may find that with an improved amount of sleep comes an increased ability to exercise without exhaustion.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your body won’t be able to repair itself as well. People who don’t get enough sleep report higher pain levels, so getting enough shut-eye may help you feel less sore and achy when you wake up in the morning. If you still have pain after getting more sleep, check with your doctor.
Builds stronger bones
While you sleep, your body releases growth hormones and continues regenerating cells. This helps build stronger bones and can help prevent osteoporosis. Additionally, by regulating blood sugar levels while we sleep, sleep can help manage diabetes. While these are just two reasons that getting enough shut-eye can be good for your health, it’s worth noting that there are many more benefits to be reaped from sleeping well at night.
The amount of sleep you get can be an essential part of living a long life. Multiple studies have found that people who consistently sleep between six and eight hours live longer than those who sleep less or more. In one study, researchers looked at data from over 3 million adults in Sweden and found that women who slept five hours or less were 12 percent more likely to die during a given period than women who slept seven hours. Men who slept five hours or fewer were 15 percent more likely to die within a given time frame than men who got seven hours of sleep.
A good night’s sleep doesn’t only feel great—it’s also good for your health. After an exhausting day, make sure you get a whole night of sleep to reduce stress and improve your immune system. And if you have trouble falling asleep at night, use these easy tips to relax your body and mind before bedtime. Be sure to get enough rest to stay healthy and awake throughout the day!