You know that adequate sleep makes you feel better, more alert and less cranky. However, there are a number of advantages to your overall health that getting a good night’s rest on a regular basis can offer. Here are seven benefits of sleep that just may surprise you.
It’s been found that sleep can lead to strengthened emotional components of memory. Also, during restful sleep, your brain can reorganize and restructure memories. These changes have been shown to increase creativity.
Getting regular sleep can improve your overall memory function. Your mind is actually quite busy when you’re sleeping. In fact, a process known as consolidation occurs wherein memories are strengthened or skills that you learned in your waking hours are “practiced.” Sleep improves learning, leading to better memory.
Heightened Attention and Focus
Lack of sleep has been shown to actually mimic ADHD symptoms in kids. Tendency to become hyperactive and inattentive with little sleep are seen most frequently in children, but a good night’s rest can make all of us feel more alert and focused.
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Sleep has a great impact on stress level. Without regular and adequate sleep, response to stress is heightened. High stress can impact your heart health and increase your blood pressure. Not enough sleep can also have an effect on cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is a precursor to heart disease.
Another health hazard that is lessened by being well rested is inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to various health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. It can also lead to premature aging. Research shows that subjects who got less than six hours of sleep per night had higher levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood than those who regularly got eight or more hours nightly. In addition, studies have discovered that blood pressure levels and inflammation were reduced in sleep apnea patients when they received treatment.
Most people want to lose fat and maintain a healthy weight. This goal can be assisted through getting adequate nightly slumber. One study from the University of Chicago demonstrated that participants who were well rested lost more fat, while those who didn’t sleep enough lost muscle mass when dieting. The participants who got less sleep also reported feeling hungrier. This makes sense because the same segment of the brain controls both sleep and metabolism. The hormones that fuel appetite are the ones that are increased in the blood when you don’t get enough sleep.
Proper sleep increases emotional stability and decreases anxiety, leading to overall better mental health and fewer symptoms of depression. It’s important to understand that sleep cannot be caught up on later in the week or on the weekend. A regular pattern of nightly sleep is necessary to keep hormone levels steady.
These are seven health benefits that may come from adequate sleep. There are plenty more, and the effects of poor sleep habits can be quite detrimental.