Happy “Sleeptember”! The Sleep Council is running their fantastic sleep awareness campaign again this month, and we’re happy to get on board and share our knowledge of how to achieve a great night’s sleep with you!
Why is sleep so vital? It’s about more than just making sure you don’t feel tired — it may seem like your body more or less shuts down, but actually there are a whole lot of important processes going on, and they need sleep to work properly. Here are just 10 of the ways in which sleep benefits you.
1) It gives your memory a boost.
There have been all sorts of studies into the ways in which sleep influences our ability to remember things — a few weeks back, for example, we wrote about a study carried out in Switzerland, where a group of volunteers who slept after hearing new words had better recall than a group who didn’t sleep. But the evidence seems pretty conclusive — if you want to remember something better, sleep on it!
2) It improves your immune system.
You’re much more likely to come down with an illness when you’re sleep-deprived, and much less likely to kick a bug you already have. Production of T cells, which are a major part of our immune systems, goes down when you’re dealing with a lack of sleep, which means you’ll feel run-down much quicker.
3) It helps you lose weight.
Sleep is directly linked to maintaining a healthy weight. When you’re tired, you may crave less healthy foods, seek out sugar and caffeine as a way to boost your energy, and be less motivated to exercise. Lack of sleep can also slow your metabolism.
4) It reduces stress.
The less sleep you have, the more likely it is that you’ll start to think negatively and feel irritable and anxious. Getting a good night’s sleep will do wonders to improve your mood and relieve your anxiety.
5) It lowers the risk of heart disease.
Losing out on sleep long-term can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, which can put a strain on the heart. A study carried out in 2010 also found that people who slept for less than six hours a night had higher levels of a protein linked to an increased risk of heart attack in their blood.
6) It boosts creativity.
Some people claim that they have bursts of creativity while they’re sleep-deprived, but while that may occasionally be true, sleeping on something and approaching it with fresh eyes the next day is a far healthier way to improve your creativity.
7) It improves your complexion.
Yes, there really is truth to the phrase “beauty sleep”! Dark circles are one obvious result of not getting enough sleep, but lack of sleep can also lead to acne, dry skin, and dull skin tone. It’s while we sleep that skin cells regenerate themselves, so getting a good night’s sleep will really help you to look fresh-faced.
8) You’ll make better decisions.
You’re much more alert after a good night’s sleep — in fact, the effects of sleep loss are similar to those of being drunk. You probably know not to make important decisions drunk. Don’t make them while you’re sleep-deprived, either.
9) It improves concentration.
This goes for adults and children alike — while adults become more lacking in energy, children can become hyperactive when they need sleep. Neither of these are very good for concentration. Lack of concentration can also play into the poor decisions mentioned above, and is particularly dangerous in tasks like driving or operating machinery.
10) You’ll feel happier.
With all these benefits to your mental and physical health, it’s hardly surprising that better sleep has been linked to a greater sense of wellbeing and contentment overall! So tonight, turn off the television, enjoy a relaxing evening bath, and get an early night!