Why is sleep so important?
Adequate sleep is a vital component of our health that is becoming more neglected with the increasing pace of our world. For the body to function at its best, it is essential to receive enough sleep every night. It may seem easy to push through nights of little sleep with caffeine, but in the long run this can be very detrimental to our overall wellbeing. Below are five reasons why sleep is important:
1. Improved concentration
A lack of sleep can impact your memory and ability to think clearly. Studies have demonstrated that both acute lack of sleep or a chronic deficiency of sleep overtime can lead to a decrease in cognitive performance. It can affect working memory, attention, and vigilance. An individual who has been 48 hours without sleep can have a similar impairment of cognitive ability as someone who has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1%. This is above the legal driving limit in every state in the US. Skipping out on sleep in order to be productive can actually lead to a decline in productivity in the long run and is not advised.
2. Benefits of maintaining a healthy weight
There have been many studies over the years to demonstrate a correlation between sleep deprivation and weight gain or obesity. Correlation does not also signify causation. A lack of sleep may simply lead to additional factors that influence weight gain. For example, a study was conducted to analyze food choice patterns in those who have had adequate sleep compared to those who have not. The group of participants that had a full night’s rest made healthier food choices than those that were sleep deprived.
3. Lowers your risk for chronic conditions
Sleep habits can have a larger impact on your health than you might realize. Those who routinely do not receive enough sleep are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as:
- Mood disorders
- Decreased immune function
- High blood pressure
- Heart Disease
The accumulation of these conditions can actually lead to a shorter life expectancy for some.
4. Enhance athletic performance
This is strong evidence to suggest that sufficient sleep can lead to improved performance and greater competitive success for athletes. Not only does sleep allow the body to rest and restore, but it also improves the mental engagement of the sport or physical activity. For many athletes, sleep can be difficult to prioritize. An athlete’s schedule may include traveling, personal obligations, or academic studies outside of training. Ensuring a regular sleep routine can lead to many positive outcomes for athletic performance.
5. Regulates hormones
Many important hormones are influenced by the innate circadian rhythm. The sleep-wake cycle of our body helps regulate cortisol, melatonin, growth hormone, and other patterns related to lipid metabolism. This can lead to an imbalance in sex hormones as well as other factors that regulate a healthy weight. Sleep is not only good for restoring energy, but also for maintaining balance in many other processes involved in metabolism.
Bonus: A few good habits for better sleep
Instilling better sleeping habits takes intentionality, but is very much worth the effort. Here are some habits that can help you achieve a better night’s rest:
Make your bedroom a comfortable place
Each person will spend approximately one-third of their lives asleep, so it is important to invest in making sure your bedroom is restful and peaceful. Purchase a mattress and bedding to suit your needs. This will make a significant difference in the quality of your sleep every night. Also, make sure you are able to make the room dark and quiet. The body’s sleep-wake cycle, also known the circadian rhythm, is based off of exposure to light. By maintaining a dark room, your body will better adapt to falling and staying asleep. Minimizing excess noise will have the same effect as well. If you live close to a busy street or have loud neighbors, consider using a sound machine.
Stick to a sleep schedule
Your body is designed to be awake during daylight and asleep during most of the night. It functions best when the transition between these two conditions is consistent. Try falling asleep and waking up at the same time every day. This will help your body develop a routine and encourage higher quality sleep. One way to take this pattern a step further is by conducting a bedtime routine every night. This relaxes your mind and body and prepares it for sleep.
Prepare yourself for sleep during the day
Caffeine and screen time can both minimize your ability to sleep at night. Try to avoid drinking caffeine later in the day to promote restful sleep. It is also recommended to stay away from watching TV or looking at your phone and computer at least 30 minutes before bed. By maintaining good habits during the day, it can help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep.
What to do if you have trouble falling asleep at night
If you have already instilled a sleeping schedule, you stay away from caffeine and screen time late at night, but are still experiencing difficulty falling asleep, you may need to revise other lifestyle habits. Sleep can often require a holistic approach. Be sure that you are exercising and eating a balanced diet. You may also need a supplement to aid in falling asleep. Mybite offers the Sweet Zzzz Sleep vitamin to promote a restful night’s sleep. There are many other delicious vitamins available on the Mybite shop for overall health. Visit the store to find supplements that are appropriate for your needs.
Adequate sleep can impact almost every aspect of health. It should be viewed as a priority rather than a luxury. A lack of sleep over time is often correlated with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. For the average adult, it is recommended to get around 7-9 hours of sleep per night. You can encourage proper sleep habits by creating a comfortable, dark, distraction-free bedroom and going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Proper sleep is a valuable investment and will improve and maintain your overall health and wellbeing.