Remember when you were a kid, and your parents made you go to bed at a certain time. If you were like me, you always made a fuss and asked to go to bed a little later. As you got older, your curfew got later until eventually, you had no curfew at all. You probably stayed up late as a high senior and college student studying during the week and partying until dawn on the weekends. During those times, you only needed a few hours of sleep and was good as new. However, as you got older and became a working adult, you began to miss your bed. You start to see that those few hours of sleep is no longer cutting it. It was fine when we were kids, but as grown ups, it just makes us look and act as zombies.
Our bodies need a sufficient amount of sleep. It helps to make us feel refreshed and energized, plus it helps repair and restore the body. Yet another thing our parents had the right idea about (don’t you just hate that?) They knew how important sleep was, and as usual, wanted the best for us. Hate the idea of catching Z’s, well the health benefits of sleep may make you start planning your bedtime ritual.
The Health Benefits Of Sleep
Improved Memory Function
Have a big exam or recital coming up? According to a study by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, sleep can help you retain and remember what you studied. They taught 12 college – aged people a sequence of finger movement. After about 12 hours, the subjects were tested on the finger movements while under an MRI. The results were improved motor skill performance in the individuals. Dr. Matthew Walker, lead author in the study, says the MRI shows that brain regions shift dramatically during sleep. “When you’re asleep, it seems as though you are shifting memory to more efficient storage regions within the brain. Consequently, when you awaken, memory tasks can be performed both more quickly and accurately and with less stress and anxiety.” This also explains why sleep is a major role in human development and growth.
Going through the day to day can bring stress into your life, especially if you deal with people all day. Stress and sleep have a strange relationship where can affect the other. When stress levels are high, a good night’s sleep is almost impossible. On the other side, having a good night’s sleep can reduce stress. Dr. Raymonde Jean, director of sleep medicine a St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center in NYC said “If you sleep better, you can certainly live better. Sleep can certainly reduce stress levels. With that, people can have better control of their blood pressure. It’s also believed that sleep affects cholesterol levels, which plays a significant role in heart disease.” For help in reducing stress to get a good night’s sleep, click here.
Help You On Your Weight Loss Journey
This one piggybacks of the last one. As I just mentioned, high stress levels can impair your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Another thing that high stress level does is release the hormone, cortisol, into the body. High cortisol levels have been shown to increase your appetite, and encourage the body to store excess fat in your midsection. As you know, you gain weight when you eat more calories than your body can burn. So, the more you eat, the more weight you gain and the for fat you put on (especially where your six pack should be). So sleep can not only help you reduce stress, it can aid you on your fitness quest.
Going back to when we were kids, our parents strictly enforced a bedtime, and with good reason. Turns out, children need more sleep than adults. Reut Gruber and her colleagues from McGill University did a study in Pediatrics to prove just that. They took children from ages 7 to 11 and deprive them of 1 hour a sleep a night for 5 nights. What they discovered is that these children were more irritable, frustrated and had problems paying attention in class than those who were well rested. Think about it, if children can improve their focus from a good night’s sleep, why not us adults.
Improve Move and Overall Well – Being
I constantly see and hear how people don’t like to be bothered in the morning until they have their coffee. They need the caffeine to wake them up and give them energy. Most likely because they’re not getting enough sleep. The researchers from the University Of Pennsylvania found out how sleep deprivation can affect ones mood. They discovered that those who only had 4.5 of sleep were feeling more stressed, angry, sad and mentally exhausted. Once they went back to their normal sleep schedule, they had a dramatic increase in mood.
The health benefits of sleep are so amazing. I crafted my own bedtime ritual after doing my research, and realizing how important it is. Every night, I aim to get about 7 to 8 hours of sleep. However, I make sure to get deep, quality sleep as well. If you’re not getting that as well, then no amount of sleep you get will be enough. For more information on that, click here. Have you noticed any of these benefits or know of a benefit of sleep that’s not listed? Drop a comment below. Would love to hear what you think.