Getting enough sleep is essential to your overall health and wellbeing. Getting a good night’s sleep does not only help you feel alert and refreshed for the day ahead, but there are also several physical, mental, and cognitive benefits to sleeping better.
In this article, we discuss eight reasons why sleep is good for you, sharing some well-known facts and others that may surprise you!
1. Sleep Can Support Your Physical Health
Sleep has an extremely positive effect on your physical wellbeing. It can help you with your fitness, health, and athletic performance. It is vital for rest and recovery but there is also research that shows it improves your athletic performance. Studies of sleep have associated it with the competitive success and improved performance of athletes (1). It is also shown that lack of sleep may promote muscle breakdown and fat storage.
Furthermore, one small study concluded that sleep deprivation may negatively impact the production of hormones involved in muscle maintenance (2). These include the growth hormone and testosterone, while it may also increase cortisol, which promotes the storage of fat.
2. Sleep Can Help You Manage Stress and Improve Your Mental Health
Your level of cortisol, also known as your stress hormones, usually drops while you are asleep. If you do not get enough sleep your body will not get enough time to reduce its cortisol level. This results in elevated levels of cortisol, which has a big impact on your ability to respond to stress and your overall health. Mental health and sleep have a complicated relationship but are intertwined nonetheless. Studies have consistently shown that good sleep can help with your attention span, emotional intelligence and regulation, and overall improved mental health.
3. Sleep Cleans Your Brain, Which Can Help Prevent Neurodegenerative Diseases
There have been studies to suggest that while you sleep your brain is cleared of toxins, damaging molecules, that are associated with neurodegeneration (3). Throughout the day while you are awake there is a buildup of toxins within the brain. These toxic molecules accumulate in the space between brain cells. If you do not get enough sleep then these toxins do not get cleared away and replaced. This shows how important it is to get good sleep as, over time, the buildup of these harmful toxins is said to contribute to a greater risk of developing dementia.
4. Sleep Can Help Prevent Heart Disease and Other Illnesses
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is associated with cardiovascular disease (4). The chances of developing conditions such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, and diabetes mellitus go up drastically when you are routinely deprived of sleep. While you enter a deep sleep your blood pressure drops, the heart slows, and breathing stabilizes which reduces stress on your heart. Ensuring that you get adequate sleep is important and will go far in preventing these cardiovascular diseases. The immune system is also affected by sleep and, the lack of it can have a detrimental effect on your internal bodily functions. Sleep deprivation has been associated with a weakened immune system and a chronic inflammatory state. It also increases the risk for infectious diseases as the immune system is weakened.
5. Lack of Sleep Can Increase Anxiety
Sleep deprivation has been strongly linked with your emotional health and can affect your mood. This can greatly exacerbate the problems that are related to anxiety disorders. The relationship between sleep deprivation and anxiety can be self-reinforcing, contributing to a harmful cycle. The cycle of poor sleep and then worrying about the quality of one’s sleep perpetuates this cycle, contributing to greater anxiety which in turn contributes to more sleep difficulties. Reducing your anxiety before bed can help you sleep better while also ensuring that you are well rested for the next day (5). This will, in turn, have a positive effect on your mood and emotional health, giving you the necessary tools to help you deal with anxiety.
6. Sleep is Good for Your Skin
Sleep has a big impact on the health of your skin. While you sleep your body produces collagen, which prevents your skin from sagging, keeping it plump and less likely to wrinkle. Furthermore, the effects of sleep deprivation can be physically seen with symptoms including dull, dry, and rough skin, dark eye circles, and droopy eyelids. Lack of sleep also contributes to the disruption of sex hormones being created like testosterone and estrogen. These hormones play a big part in the prevention of premature skin aging.
7. Sleep Can Affect Your Appetite
Sleep deprivation has been connected with an increase in your appetite. This increase is caused by an imbalance in your hormones, specifically ghrelin and leptin, which help regulate your appetite. The regulation of your appetite is important as it contributes to your metabolic state and your body’s ability to burn fat. As much as exercise and diet are important to a healthy body, sleep is also vital and can have a big impact on your weight goals.
8. Sleep Leads to Better Learning and Memory
Sleep significantly improves your ability to learn and recall memories (6). Furthermore, it improves your ability to memorize, retain, and use the newly acquired knowledge to solve problems creatively. Sleep also plays a role in learning by helping to replenish your brain and boost your cognitive performance. According to certain scientists, MRI scans indicate that the slow brain waves during stage 3 sleep act as a sort of courier service to transport memories from the hippocampus, where what you learn is temporarily stored, to other parts of the brain for permanent storage. These studies show that sleep is a major contributing factor to learning and memorizing, as well as overall cognitive function.
Sleep provides a range of health benefits, both physically and mentally but most of us don’t get enough of it. Learn why more and more people are turning to natural ingredients for healthier sleep. Check out Research Verified® Sleep Aid and get the best sleep of your life!