A good night’s sleep can often be harder to come by than many of us wish. Staying up late to catch up on your favourite series or tossing and turning throughout the night can leave us feeling tired, bleary-eyed and a little bad-tempered. We know it’s a necessity for all of us, but is sleep good for you? Well, the benefits of sleep go much further than just making us less cranky in the morning. We’ve taken a look at all the positive effects sleep can have on our lives, and why we should all prioritise getting to bed at a good time.
1. Sleep improves your mental health
As it does with our physical health and our energy levels, sleep helps us recover from mental exertion. Not giving yourself the chance to rest can lead to lethargy, tiredness and frustration, which can all have a negative influence on your mental health. A lack of sleep can also be linked to anxiety and depression, this can lead to an even worse night’s sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep improves our overall mood and puts us in the right mindset to take on the day.
2. Sleep improves your memory
As your mind rests it organises and processes all the information you’ve taken in during the day, this includes the memories you’ve made. A good night’s sleep helps turn these from short-term to long-term, creating lasting memories. Getting enough rest for your brain to go over this information means you wake up with a clearer mind and a better outlook.
3. Sleep improves your attention and concentration
We all know how difficult it can be to stay focused at our desks after a poor night’s sleep. Well, not getting enough sleep means your brain doesn’t function properly the next day, impairing your attention span, concentration, strategic thinking, risk assessment and reaction times. This can lead to a particularly trying day at work. If you’re looking to have a productive day, face a long drive, or have a big decision to make – then getting to bed early is highly recommended.
4. Sleep takes care of your emotional wellbeing
Sleep is an incredibly important component in taking care of your emotional wellbeing. If you have something going on in your life that’s making you worried or anxious then sleep can help you clear your mind. A lack of sleep will leave you feeling low and is likely to leave you with a more negative outlook on what’s going on in your life. Tossing and turning due to worry and anxiety will only worsen the problem. If you’re finding it tricky to get to sleep, then it might be worth trying a natural sleep remedy or practising mindfulness. After a long snooze, you should find your mood improves and you have a clearer head for taking on any worries you may have.
5. Sleep can make you smarter
You’re at your sharpest after a long sleep. It won’t turn you into a genius overnight but if your brain is well-rested you will be fit to take on the challenges of the day. Get to bed early and profit from improved sharpness and focus when you wake.
6. Sleep reduces stress
Similar to the other mental health benefits of getting enough sleep, a big long kip will help you feel relaxed and keep your temper down, even when the going gets tough. If you don’t get enough sleep your body produces an increased level of stress hormones, which is what’s responsible for that snappy attitude many of us have experienced after a late night. In turn, if you’re stressed it can keep you awake at night, making for a vicious cycle.
7. Maintain good relationships
Many of the benefits of sleep help us maintain good relationships with those around us. If you’re stressed or struggling with your emotions, you might find it trickier to interact with others. Keeping those stress levels down and having a happier and more attentive approach to the day will help keep everyone smiling. As well as mentality, a good night’s sleep will see improved communication, reasoning and language – helping you charm your way to a successful day.
8. Sleep keeps your immune system strong
Keeping your immune system strong is one of the many health benefits of sleep. A good snooze gives your body time to rest and repair, allowing the proteins and cells of your immune system to fight off any germs that might come your way. Rest is essential for recovery, we become tired when we are ill because our bodies know that sleep will help us heal. A good night’s sleep will help keep you healthy and fighting fit.
9. Sleep helps you maintain a healthy weight
Sleep regulates the hormones that affect your hunger and help control those cravings for high-calorie foods. If you’re not getting enough sleep then your body will need more energy for the hours that you’re awake, meaning you’ll want to eat more and later in the day. A regular routine of good quality sleep plays a key role in regulating how your body uses food for energy and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
10. Sleep keeps your heart healthy
Good quality sleep each night helps keep your blood pressure down. Your sympathetic nervous system activates your cardiovascular system and increases your blood pressure to prepare you for waking up. If you’re consistently waking in the night or not getting enough sleep your body can’t compensate for the rise in blood pressure and your level can remain higher than normal. High blood pressure can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, so getting enough sleep really is important.
Hitting the hay at a good time and making sure we get a good night’s sleep helps us in all aspects of our lives. From health, to work, to relationships, you’ll be set for success if you give your body plenty of time to rest. If you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep when you get into bed, it might be worth trying relaxation techniques or natural sleep remedies to help you get that precious shuteye.