You hear it all the time – it is very important to get a good night’s sleep. The elusive 7-9 hours of deep, restorative rest we’re all supposed to be getting to be our best selves. Instead of becoming yet another source of nagging, or even trying to guilt you into getting more rest, this post will educate you about what really happens in your body when you’re fully rested and running with a full battery.
Better memory & sharpened attention
Your brain does something called consolidation when you’re asleep; this important process takes what you’ve learned during the day and ingrains it into your memory. The longer you sleep the more ingrained it becomes, and in the process your memory improves. With a good night of sleep behind you, you’ll be able to focus better, thus retaining more information.
Sleep and stress often go hand-in-hand. When you’re stressed you may have trouble sleeping, and at the same time when you’re not sleeping well, you may feel a higher level of stress than you would under your “normal” sleeping conditions. To lower stress, try to keep yourself on a sleep routine each night (ex. turning off mobile devices an hour before bedtime, listening to relaxing music, etc.).
Improved physical performance
According to an article in The New York Times, treating common sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, can improve your golf handicaps by up to 31%. If golf isn’t your game, know that treating sleep apnea (perhaps with a device like the miniCPAP™) can still improve your productivity at work and your memory overall.
You’re more likely to lose muscle mass when you’re overtired; to burn fat instead, think about getting to bed earlier. "Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain," Dr. Rapoport, MD, director of the NYU Sleep Disorders Program says. "When you are sleepy, certain hormones go up in your blood, and those same hormones drive appetite."
Lower pain sensitivity levels
Similar to stress, pain and sleep go hand-in-hand. According to an article in Business Insider, when you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re susceptible to more sensitivity to pain,5 leading to “a terrible cycle for chronic pain sufferers.”
So there it is: a full account of the benefits of getting a better night’s sleep. Maybe they will incentivize you to hit the hay a bit earlier tonight. Do it for yourself; your mind and body will thank you.
1"Lack of Sleep Is Affecting Americans, Finds the National Sleep Foundation." National Sleep Foundation. National Sleep Foundation, Dec. 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.
2Sparacino, Alyssa. "11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep." Health.com. Health Magazine, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.
3Bakalar, Nicholas. "Sleep Apnea and Your Golf Score." The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Dec. 2013. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.
4Sparacino, Alyssa. "11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep." Health.com. Health Magazine, n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.
5Loria, Kevin. "23 Incredible Benefits Of Getting More Sleep." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 22 Dec. 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2015.