Getting a great night’s sleep and waking up refreshed in the morning can be one of life’s great pleasures. But how often do you ensure you get a good night’s sleep? It’s all too easy to burn the candle at both ends.
Aside from waking feeling refreshed, it turns out that there are a range of excellent reasons to make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep: you’ll perform better, feel better and even be healthier. Let’s look at some reasons why getting a good night’s sleep is essential.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
Sleep can play a critical role in helping you maintain a healthy weight, allowing you to regulate your hunger hormones reducing the chances of overeating and craving high-calorie foods.
Good sleep patterns also help you stay motivated when it comes to doing physical activity. If you want to stick to that diet and exercise routine, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to snooze.
- Improve Your Memory
When you sleep, your brain sorts all the information and memories you have made during the day, converting the important bits from short-term memories into long-term memories. That’s why getting a good night’s sleep significantly improves your cognitive functions, such as memory retention and concentration.
There is also evidence that when you sleep, your brain ‘cleans’ itself using it’s own inbuilt waste management system, known as the glymphatic system, which flushes out chemicals that build up during the day.
So, not only do you not remember things better when you sleep well, but you’ll also be more creative and better at problem-solving.
- Enhance Your Athletic Performance
Quality sleep enhances many aspects of athletic performance, including speed, accuracy, reaction times, and muscular endurance. It also plays a vital role in muscle recovery, reducing the risk of sports-related injuries and helping to build strength after a workout session. If you want to perform on the track, you better hit the sack.
- Strengthen Your Heart
Typically, when you sleep, your blood pressure naturally drops, giving your heart a much-needed rest. Lack of sleep can also lead to inflammation, which puts extra strain on your heart during the day.
However, it’s also essential to focus on the quality of your sleep too. If you don’t sleep well, your body triggers its ‘fight or flight’ response, which actually increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Make sure you aim to get not only enough sleep but also quality sleep.
- Boost your Immune System
Sleep isn’t just great for your brain and body; your immune system also gets a boost when you doze. As you sleep the night away, your immune system is actually hard at work producing proteins called cytokines. These clever molecules target infection and inflammation, triggering an immune response that draws white blood cells to the places they are most needed.
Your body also produces most of your immune system’s T-cells while you sleep – the very same white blood cells that are vital to fighting infections.
- Improve Your Mental Health.
Quality sleep is crucial to mental and emotional health. It helps in managing stress, reducing the risk of depression and anxiety, and enhances overall dynamic stability. However, if you suffer from stress, anxiety or depression, you know that it’s not as simple as that – these conditions may be a symptom of inadequate sleep, but they are often also the cause of it.
However, by using techniques such as sticking to good sleep habits, using mindfulness or taking certain medications, such as CBT, you can break the cycle of bad sleep.
Sleep is one of the most important things that we do. Scientists don’t fully understand why we sleep, but there is one thing that doctors and sleep experts all agree on – getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for your health and wellbeing.
However, we understand that getting enough quality sleep isn’t always easy. Your lifestyle, stress levels, mental health, and environment can all make it difficult to sleep correctly.
However, you don’t have to handle these things alone. You can always speak to a NHS doctor or book an appointment with a private online GP if you need help getting a good night’s sleep.