Why do you need a good night’s sleep?
Well, we all know what can happen when you’re sleep deprived.
When you don’t get enough sleep at night, getting through the next day can be a struggle. You’ll feel tired, maybe even sleepy, which can make even simple tasks feel harder than they need to.
By early afternoon, all you’ll want to do is lie down and get some shut eye. But you can’t because you still have at least half of the day to get through.
So not getting enough sleep at night is definitely a bad thing.
On the other hand, getting all of the sleep you need has plenty of benefits. And not being tired the next day is just one of them.
Here are a few of the things a good night’s sleep can do for you.
7 Benefits of Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
1. More Brain Power
There was a study done to determine who got better grades, college students who got plenty of sleep, or college students who were sleep deprived.
Almost anyone could’ve guessed the results. The students who got enough sleep performed better than those who didn’t.
Are you taking a test tomorrow? Or tackling a difficult project at work? If so, the worst thing you can do is not get enough sleep tonight.
The amount of sleep you get affects your ability to focus and concentrate. And lack of focus or concentration can make working on anything, especially a task that’s mentally challenging, a lot harder.
So if you need to write an essay or solve a difficult problem, you’ll do much better if you got plenty of sleep the night before.
2. Improved Memory
You’ve heard it before. Not getting enough sleep makes it harder for you to focus, concentrate, and pay attention. Lack of focus makes it harder for you to absorb new information, so you’ll find it harder to recall the details of an event or action.
But if you get enough sleep, you’ll be less likely to forget the name of that new client, or where you left your keys.
Getting enough sleep also helps you to learn better.
Maybe this sounds familiar. You’re trying to get the hang of something, but you aren’t having much luck.
Either you can’t do it at all, or you can do it but its extremely difficult, and not getting any easier. Eventually you get so frustrated that you put the task aside.
The next day, for whatever reason, you decide to try again. And, this time, you find it a lot easier to perform the action.
Sleep can probably take some of the credit for your success.
Studying to absorb new knowledge, or practicing a new skill, is just the first step. Getting enough sleep helps to consolidate and strengthen your memories of the information you studied, or the movements you practiced.
As a result, you really will be “better at it” the next day.
3. A Mood Boost
Not getting enough sleep at night can put you in a bad mood the next day. And lack of seep can also have a negative effect on your outlook. A person who is sleep deprived is quick to feel impatient, anxious, annoyed, or even cheated.
They also find it harder to react positively, even in situations where a positive reaction would be expected. So, when you’re sleep deprived, you’ll find it harder to feel good or have fun.
Those who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from conditions like anxiety and depression. And if you’re already dealing with depression, lack of sleep will make your condition worse.
On the other hand, if someone is already dealing with anxiety or depression, getting more sleep could help to improve their condition.
4. Weight Loss
Getting enough sleep can help you lose weight?
It might be hard to believe but it’s absolutely true. When you get enough sleep, you’ll feel less hungry. In fact, one study found that dieters who got plenty of sleep lost more fat than dieters who weren’t as well rested.
Your body produces two hormones called ghrelin (which stimulates your appetite) and leptin (which suppresses your appetite). Being sleep deprived throws these hormones out of whack.
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The result is that you’ll feel hungry more often. And because you also have less willpower when you’re tired, you’ll probably give in to the temptation to satisfy your hunger with a snack.
If you’re trying to lose weight, getting enough sleep will help you stick to your diet.
5. Improved Heart Health
When you haven’t gotten enough sleep, your body can produce more adrenaline. This hormone makes you more alert, and makes your body ready to spring into action, even when you’re tired.
While this can be a good think in some situations, it also puts a strain on your heart, causing it to work harder than it usually has to.
Also, when you sleep, your blood pressure drops into a resting state. Your heart also gets a chance to slow down for a bit. But, the less you sleep, the less of a break your heart and blood pressure will get.
Getting enough sleep means giving your blood pressure a chance ease up, and giving your heart a chance to slow down, both of which are good for your overall health.
6. A More Responsive Immune System
It’s your immune systems job to keep you from getting sick. But, when you aren’t getting enough sleep, your immune system won’t be able to do its job as quickly or efficiently.
As a result, you could find yourself getting sick more often than you need to. It could also take you longer to get over illnesses.
For example, when a person picks up the cold virus, it doesn’t always develop into a cold. That’s because their immune system identifies the virus and is able to deal with it quickly.
When you’re sleep deprived, it could take your immune system longer to identify and attack a virus. And, if you develop a full-blown cold, it could take longer for your immune system to beat the virus.
Getting enough sleep might not keep you from ever getting sick. But it could mean having fewer sick days.
7. Better Relationships
If lack of sleep keeps you in a bad mood, you’re more likely to snap at your friends, lose your temper with your spouse, or get impatient with your children.
If you go too long without getting enough sleep, you might be in a bad mood most of the time. And how much time do you want to spend around someone who’s always in a bad mood?
Sleep deprivation also makes it difficult to enjoy happy moments with friends and family. For example, you might not have much fun at a birthday party if you’re struggling to stay awake.
Sleep deprivation can also affect your sex life. And it’s not just a question of being too tired to engage in any physical activity, sexual or otherwise, although that definitely can be part of it.
But lack of sleep can also impact the hormones that affect your interest in sex, as well as sexual performance.
5 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Now you know some of the benefits of getting plenty of sleep. And here are some tips that will make it easier for you to fall asleep at night.
1. Go to bed at the same time every night. If you go to bed at 9 pm every night, your body will eventually recognize that as your bedtime. Every evening, as 9 o’clock approaches, you will start to get sleepy. And, when you finally go to bed, you will fall asleep faster.
2. Avoid caffeine late in the day. Try to drink your last cup of coffee about 6 hours before your bedtime. And, if you take a pain medication late in the day, make sure it doesn’t contain caffeine.
3. Relax before your bedtime. About an hour before you intend to go to bed, start doing things you find calming and relaxing, whether that’s reading a book, taking a warm bath, doing yoga stretches, or listening to soothing music. If you give yourself time to wind down from a busy day, you’ll find it easier to fall asleep.
4. Re-schedule your afternoon nap. If you usually nap in the afternoon, but are having trouble falling asleep at night, consider taking your nap a little earlier. You should also try not to nap for more than 30 minutes.
5. Create the right sleeping environment. You’ll have a more restful night’s sleep if your bedroom is dark, quiet and cool.
Getting a good night’s sleep will improve your performance at work, put you in a better mood, strengthen your immune system, and even help you lose weight.
It can be hard to believe that something as simple as sleeping more could have so many benefits. But the fact is that getting enough sleep is the fastest, easiest and most affordable way to improve your quality of life.