The National Sleep Foundation in celebrating its annual Sleep Awareness Week from March 11 to 17, 2018. This year’s theme “Begin with Sleep” highlights the importance of good sleep health for individuals to best achieve their personal, family, and professional goals. Of course, we definitely agree with this sentiment, so today we want to dive into the health benefits of a good night’s rest.
You need sleep to function. It makes you feel better in every way possible, and not just because it banishes your under-eye circles. Here are 7 health benefits you’ll get when you consistently get an adequate nightly rest!
It improves your memory
Did you know that your brain is actually really busy while you sleep? During sleep, you can strengthen memories or ‘practice’ skills learned while you were awake, this is a process called consolidation. This also works for studying – we don’t recommend staying up the entire night before a big exam to study, but instead study beforehand and get a good night’s sleep. That makes it way easier to remember what you studied.
It curbs inflammation
Inflammation is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. Research indicates that people who get less sleep (six hours or less) a night have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get seven hours or more every night.
It gets you creative
Get a good night’s sleep before getting out the easel and paintbrushes or the pen and paper. In addition to consolidating memories, or making them stronger, your brain appears to reorganize and restructure them, which can then result in more creativity. Researchers at Harvard University and also Boston College found that people seem to strengthen the emotional components of a memory during sleep, like we mentioned above, and stronger mental structures can help strengthen your creativity.
It ups your physical performance
You might’ve noticed this yourself. After a good sleep, running those miles or lifting those weights is a little easier than it normally is. The explanation is simple: when you sleep enough, you’re much more rested, and that means your body has more energy reserves. If you’re an aspiring athlete, snoozing might not be so bad after all!
It helps you maintain a healthy weight
Those who don’t get enough sleep, have more sugar cravings and eat more in general. So, if you are thinking about going on a diet, you might want to plan an earlier bedtime too. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more weight than those who were sleep deprived, they lost more muscle mass.
Decrease anxiety and depression
Do you suffer from anxiety or depression? Sleeping well should be on the top of your list, as a good sleep can really help you decrease your anxiety and depression. Emotional stability partly comes with a good sleep. Also, don’t think you can easily make up for the little sleep you get during the week on the weekends, you need to sleep enough on a very consistent basis to get the benefits.
It sharpens your attention
This is especially true for kids. If kids don’t get enough sleep, they can actually start showing ADHD-like symptoms. They can’t concentrate, constantly walk around and don’t listen to what you tell them. For adults, a lack of sleep usually results in not being able to concentrate for longer periods of time while doing work or reading a book. This is especially true if you drive to work or school every day, getting a bad sleep is actually similar to having one or two alcoholic drink as far as your attention span goes.