Sleep is necessary for everyone and anyone, and helps our brains to work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information. Sleep is not only so necessary for the body, but when you have enough sleep, it significantly benefits you. As humans, the amount of sleep we all need differs, some people may thrive off not much sleep, whilst others must have at least nine or ten hours. For adults though, it is recommended that everyone gets 7-9 hours of sleep a night (Olsen 2016). If you think about it, we basically sleep nearly a third of our whole lifetime (Bjarki 2013)! You will not believe the effects that sleep can have on your body. Let’s look at some of the benefits.
Sleep helps you feel your best – you aren’t going to feel great when you have a late night and have to get up early in the morning. What if that morning is the only part of the day where you can study? Or which you are able to fit a workout in? Do you think you are going to work your hardest? Absolutely not! Of course nobody wants to wake up at the crack of dawn, this isn’t saying that you may struggle getting out of bed because you want to stay warm, rather than getting up in the middle of winter; that’s not what I am saying. I am saying that when you have had a good sleep throughout the day you will not only have more energy, but you will have a better mood. You will feel so much better and brighter.
You will have clear thinking – Sleep loss affects how you think, and how you will act during the day. Mindell tells WebMD. “It impairs your cognition, your attention, and your decision-making.” Studies have found that people who are sleep-deprived are substantially worse at solving logic or math problems than when they’re well-rested. “They’re also more likely to make odd mistakes, like leaving their keys in the fridge by accident,” she tells WebMD (FoamSource 2016).
Sleep helps with weight control – If you’re overtired, you are going to be less likely to have the energy and motivation to do that extra thing, such as make dinner, or go for a walk, even do one of your workouts. You may think that you can push through it, but in the long run, you will just lose motivation and be super run down. Your mental state also plays a big role in this. The hormone Leptin plays a key role in making you feel full. When you don’t get enough sleep, leptin levels drop. You have another hormone, Ghrelin, which is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat. When you are sleep deprived, you have more ghrelin (BreakingMuscle n.d.). This results in tired people being generally hungrier. You have to pay a price for everything you do to your body.
Stronger immunity – Do you ever have a few nights where you barely get any sleep, then wake up one morning with a sniffly nose, and the next with a sore throat? I know I have before! Listen to your body, it’s because you need SLEEP! It literally heals you; your immune system relies on sleep (NHLBI 2012), so its super important that you are getting enough, it’s so much more important than we all think. If you feel you are getting sick, or if you are sick, getting a good night’s sleep is even more important than usual.
Physical health – If you have been working hard physically, whether that be at your job, because of a workout, or being on your feet all day, your muscles are going to be sore, and without sleep and rest, they will take longer to repair, and therefore you will feel sore and fatigues for longer. An increased amount of sleep will make you feel more alive when you wake up, and you will be more willing to do physical exercise. If you don’t get a lot of sleep, you are going to be so much more likely to just “skip everything until tomorrow”, or lie down and not get anything done because you are feeling lazy – this always happens to me when I don’t get enough sleep! I aim to clean my room, do my washing, and make a snack, only to sit down because I’m feeling so tired, and 2 hours later, nothing is done. I never get anything done when I am in those moods, and it makes me ask myself, is being lazy good for your physical health? You can answer that one. You are going to find also that if you increase your physical exercise, you are going to appreciate sleep more, and I know that you will be more tired, and therefore, want to sleep more. This shows that your body knows best; just listen to yourself. Sleep is to us what a phone charger is to a phone. Without it, we can’t function, don’t work properly, and are pretty much useless.
You’ll help repair and grow new muscle tissue
You’ll help stabilise your blood sugar level
You will have better memory
You will be in a better mood
And did you know – sleeping burns calories too? This isn’t really significant, just a fun fact.
- Listen to your body, if you are struggling to keep your eyes open at night, GO TO BED
- Get into a routine. This is going to make it so much easier. Get in to bed a certain time every night, and set a time for yourself to go to bed. If it’s a little bit over, don’t beat yourself up about it and be negative, just stick to it as much as you can.
- Try waking up at similar times, don’t wake up too early and don’t sleep in too much. Remember though that getting too much sleep can make you feel super lazy, and has quite a lot of side effects and disadvantages (Mercola 2015).
- Relax yourself before bed. Maybe this means being in a dark room, turning off technology and reading a book, listening to the sound of rain, having a phone call, or lighting a candle. Only you (or maybe your loved ones) know what makes you relaxed and feel at peace. This will not only make you feel relaxed (which is amazing for your mind and body – especially before bed), but it will get you ready for an amazing night’s sleep, which ultimately starts the next day off perfectly.
You may find that if you aren’t getting enough sleep, and are listening to some of the tips I mentioned, it may take a little bit of time to get used to. You can do this! Your body secretly wants to, despite your mind telling you to watch that “one more” Youtube video at 12:30 (hmm, I think I am just catching myself on things right now – no regrets). Don’t give up, keep trying, and be patient. Your body will reward you for this, it will be super thankful.
I am so glad that there is so much amazing information on the Internet, and that I am able to share it and gather some of it together for you to read. Sleep is so much more important than we may realise, and I know you will see all the amazing benefits mentioned above if you make sure you are getting the right amount of sleep. I really hope that this post has helped you and that you gained a little bit of knowledge from me. I would love to get to know you, so comment below.
Until next time!
Lots of Love,