Getting better sleep doesn’t just improve your morning mood; surprisingly, it boosts your health, too. In fact, good sleep is one of the pillars of good health, along with eating right and exercising regularly. It’s true you can’t achieve optimal health without catching your Zzz’s each and every night. Sure, most of us have a bout of insomnia from time to time. The bigger concern is chronic sleep loss.
Sleep requirements vary, but the average adult should get between seven to nine hours of sleep every night for peak health benefits, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Find out the 7 surprising benefits to getting better sleep and why you should make an early bedtime a priority. It may just be the ticket to helping you reach your health goals this year.
While you’re sleeping, your blood pressure falls and gives your heart a chance to rest. It also allows your blood pressure to regulate. When you cut that time short, your blood pressure stays higher longer during each 24-hour period. Over time, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease or stroke.
When you’re sleep-deprived, it affects the hormones in your brain that regulate appetite. Lack of sleep not only knocks your appetite hormones out of balance, causing you to eat more, but you also have less motivation to get moving. It’s a recipe for weight gain. Not to mention, people who haven’t gotten enough sleep have a tendency to choose unhealthy, higher-calorie “comfort” foods.
Improved Athletic Ability
A good night’s rest sets you up for your best performance. Not getting enough sleep robs your body of energy and adequate time for muscle repair. Not to mention, it zaps your motivation to keep on going, whether you’re crossing the finish line or increasing the incline on a treadmill. Without proper rest, you’ll face harder mental and physical challenges.
Sharper Brain Function
When you don’t get a good night’s rest, it interferes with brain function, including concentration and productivity. It’s more difficult to focus when you’re tired and commit new information to memory.
In addition, without adequate sleep, your brain doesn’t have enough time to store memories so you can recall them later on. In essence, your brain needs time to catch up so you’re ready for the next day.
While you sleep, your brain processes your emotions. Adequate sleep allows you to hit the reset button, be more positive, and be better prepared to meet the day’s challenges. When that time is cut short, you tend to have more negative emotional reactions.
In fact, some studies point to an increased risk for mood disorders with chronic lack of sleep.
Balanced Blood Sugar
During your deepest sleep, your blood glucose levels drop. Without your body’s time to rest and reset, it will have a harder time responding to your cells’ needs and blood sugar levels. In fact, studies have shown sleep deprivation can cause prediabetes in healthy adults.
Chronic lack of sleep can actually change the way your immune system works and affect your body’s fighting power. Therefore, your cells may not react to harmful bacteria and viruses as quickly, causing you to get sick more often. (Ref)
Remember to have fun, be grateful and you'll be on your way to living your most optimal life!