What are the benefits of sleep?
And why is the connection between sleep and health so important? We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 health benefits of getting enough clean sleep below, to help you get the most out of your sleep routine.
1. Staying focused
Are your eyes getting blurry in front of your computer screen? Do you find yourself reaching for a larger caffeine dose than usual in the morning? It may be that your sleeping habits are getting in the way of your everyday routine. Getting enough quality sleep has a positive effect on brain function – including cognition, concentration, productivity and performance. So if you get enough shut-eye on a regular basis, you’re sure to feel ready for any task that comes your way. Quality sleep also helps with something called “memory consolidation”, where the memories made during the day are saved into long-term storage – to help you treasure those special moments that you never want to forget.
2. Maintaining your weight
While it won’t help you to lose any, a quality, structured sleep pattern will help you keep your weight under control. Why? Clean sleep will help to regulate those hormones that increase your appetite and cravings. Because when you’re up all night, your body needs more energy – almost like you’re fuelling a car. But getting clean sleep is also down to your diet, as too much caffiene and sugar, or skipping meals, can help to keep you awake at night. The solution? If you’re an avid coffee drinker in the evening, try switching out your usual for a decaffeinated alternative in the afternoon.
3. A healthy heart
Healthy sleep, healthy heart! Getting enough shut-eye helps to lower stress levels and any inflammation to your cardiovascular system, which subsequently will reduce your chances of a stroke or heart condition. Now it’s not 100% clear as to why getting more sleep helps to maintain a healthy heart, but Harvard Medical School make it clear that people with sleep apnea often experience heart issues. Because without quality, clean sleep and periods of rest, certain chemicals are activated that prevent your blood pressure and heart rate from lowering overnight.
4. Fighting off infections
During sleep your body produces more protein molecules that help to fight infections – so regulating your sleep pattern and getting quality shut-eye will help to keep your immune system strong. Another great way of keeping germs at bay during the night is by investing in a hypoallergenic wool bedding set – letting you get a peaceful night’s sleep, without added the worry of pesky allergens and bacteria.
5. Taking care of your mental health
Not only are there physical health benefits of getting enough sleep, but there are positive effects on your mental health, too. For those who live with mental health issues, not getting enough sleep can heighten symptoms – like low mood and irratibility. For example, the Mental Health Foundation show that people who suffer from insomnia are 4 times more likely to experience relationship issues. And with over 30% of the population suffering from insomnia or another sleep disorder, it’s becoming increasingly evident that getting enough shut-eye is important for allowing you to rest and refresh your mind before the new day.
Discover more about how lack of sleep can affect mental health.
6. Improving your overall mood
It’s no secret that getting enough sleep can help keep your energy levels up. You’ve probably experienced those mid-morning slumps following a late or restless night, which shows you just how important your sleep is to you. In fact, 95% of respondents in a survey completed by Woolroom said that a good night’s sleep contributes to their general mood, so getting enough sleep can leave you feeling more positive and well-rested throughout the day.
7. Lowering blood pressure
Quality sleep helps to regulate stress hormones, while not getting enough will do the opposite – meaning that your blood pressure levels will increase. So getting the right amount of sleep at night is a great way to maintain these levels, and your health. If you’re struggling with your sleep pattern, try listening to some calming sounds in bed – these can help to lower your blood pressure and heart rate, which in turn will make it easier for you to get to sleep at night.
8. Less stress
A lack of sleep can result in an increased level of stress hormones, so getting enough shut-eye will help to lighten the load. But it’s a bit of a chain reaction – worry and stress can keep you awake at night, while not getting enough sleep can cause even more stress. So break the viscious cycle by winding down before bed with a book or a calming podcast, and get to sleep the right way.
9. Reducing inflammation
Having both too little and too much sleep can trigger pro-inflammatory processes, as less sleep can increase levels of the protein that stimulates inflammation. Over time, this can cause DNA damage, tissue death and more, which is why it’s important to get enough shut-eye, now. How? Getting into a regulated, healthy sleep routine will help you feel well-rested and energetic, resulting in lowered inflammation levels.
10. Allowing for time to repair
The health benefits of sleep aren’t always that noticeable. As you sleep, your body works hard to recharge and repair itself after a long day, taking care of the damage caused by stress, UV rays and other harmful exposure by producing more protein as you sleep – so that you can rest easy. These proteins then help to form the building blocks for cells that work to repair any damage, so giving them enough time to do their magic is vital.
The connection between sleep and health
Your sleep is pretty important. Whether you’re a workaholic or a slave to your favourite TV series, taking some time off to get a good night’s sleep is extremely beneficial to you, and your health. The next time you question whether you really need a solid 7 hours of sleep, consider the potential benefits that can arise from a healthy, regulated sleep pattern and hop into bed instead. For more information regarding sleep and health, visit our blog: “Why lack of sleep is bad for your health”.