Sleep is one of the most important things when it comes to providing your body with its well-deserved and optimum mental and physical health! It is clear that without consistent, ample good night’s sleep your concentration, energy, and motivation levels are pretty low, right? Below, we take you through why enjoying some solid shuteye each night is so important for your health, and our top tips to ensure you don’t end up counting sheep.
You are probably reading this thinking, ‘Ok, I get it, I’ve heard it all before… sleep is important’. But this is for a very good reason! When it comes down to it, sleep is just as important for your health as consistently eating well, regularly moving your body, and consuming enough water each day. Your immune system, brain health, heart health, and a whole heap of other essential health aspects benefit dramatically from logging enough hours of beauty sleep each night! On average, for adults to achieve the health benefits sleep provides, mentioned below, 7—9 hours a night is the recommendation.
Top 10 Tips to Get More Solid Sleep
- Aim to go to sleep at the same time each night
- Aim to wake up at the same time each morning, creating your own natural sleep cycle
- Limit the amount of alcohol and caffeine in the hours leading up to sleep
- Try not to nap after 3 pm, and when napping aim for them to be no longer than 20 minutes
- Control your light exposure, limiting blue light (from devices) 1—2 hours prior to sleep time
- Allow yourself to be exposed to almost all-natural light throughout the day
- Aim to move your body for at least 30 minutes a day (not within 3 hours before sleep)
- Keep your bed for things your bed is meant for – not for working from home or eating
- Clear your head before sleep by reading, writing or meditating
- Ensure your bedroom temperature is comfortable, keeping your room cool
Sleep helps with weight loss
Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night leads to a number of changes in your habits and metabolic changes that can equate to weight loss. If you are feeling tired and sluggish, the automatic response is that you need more ‘energy’ to function, which often equates to reaching for the next sugary snack that you actually don’t need.
Sleep has also been linked to the hunger hormones, ghrelin, and leptin. Ghrelin releases a signal to your brain to let you know that you are hungry, and leptin does the opposite, letting your brain know that you are full and satisfied. When less sleep is had, more ghrelin and less leptin are created, causing issues with appetite the next day. Generally, this means that more calories are going to be consumed than hoped, which long term can cause weight gain if too much is consumed and not enough burnt.
Sleep helps energy levels and focus
Generally, an increase in deep sleep leads to higher energy levels and decreased tiredness and fatigue the next day. This has a knock-on effect on many other aspects of your day to day life, both physically and mentally. Higher energy levels lead to a better ability and likelihood to actually want to exercise and when doing so, perform it safely, effectively, and consistently, as well as aiding in muscle recovery.
The functionality of the brain is impacted dramatically by sleep. Cognition, concentration, focus, and performance are all decreased when sleep has been lacking. Memory and problem-solving are improved, as well as the ability to interact positively in social situations. These are all essentials to each day perform in all your jobs, responsibilities, or activities to the best of your ability!
Sleep reduces the risk of mental health issues
Sleeping disorders or poor sleep quality are both linked to a higher possibility of developing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Our mind and brain are working all day long, so just like our bodies, it requires daily rest and rejuvenation to keep going.
Sleep deprivation can cause an increase in general day to day stresses, and as mentioned, a lack in the ability to focus and concentrate which can often lead to frustration and confusion, making simple tasks much more difficult than usual.
Sleep reduces the risk of colds, inflammation and even chronic disease
Our physical health, including colds, inflammation, and the likelihood of chronic disease developing are all impacted by our quality and duration of sleep on a daily basis. Studies have shown that sleeping less than 7 to 8 hours a night can be linked to an increased risk of stroke or heart disease.
Diabetes is also at a higher risk of development if short sleep duration common, with poor sleep being linked to causing cells to become insulin resistant and the development of glucose being slowed dramatically.
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do to ensure both your physical ability and brain function is at its peak each and every day! Our bodies deserve it!