Being healthy is not all about regular exercise and consistent eating habits. The right amount of sleep daily is also an integral part of having a healthy lifestyle. Good health means getting good rest, too.
The restlessness of the months spent at home and the many distractions in the digital sphere often get in the way of a good night’s rest. But keep in mind that less rest means poorer sleep quality. The opposite is also true: enough sleep equals good sleep quality, which is what your body needs.
What Exactly Is “Good Sleep”?
Before we go over the benefits of good sleep, we must define what it means.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that healthy individuals require different lengths of sleep as they grow older. Newborn babies need 14 to 17 hours, which then reduces to nine to 11 hours when children start going to school. On the other hand, adults benefit the most from just seven to eight hours of sleep daily.
Aside from getting seven to eight hours of sleep, cycling through the stages of sleep also matters. Deep sleep helps you feel more rested when you wake up in the morning.
Getting More Deep Sleep
Creating an ideal environment for yourself is important to keep from tossing and turning all night. Some of the biggest factors that affect sleep are temperature, light, and noise.
Some blankets have built-in fans, which regulate the temperature of your sleeping environment according to sleeping preferences. These can also accommodate different temperatures for both sides of the bed, helping couples sleep better together.
Others need to reduce the amount of light in the room when they sleep. Turn off your night lamp, draw the blinds, or even put on a sleep mask to block out unwanted sources of light.
Complete silence is not always the most relaxing for many people. Listening to white noise, which contains a mix of low, medium, and high-frequency sounds, is a relaxing experience for some. It is beneficial in countering ambient noise that could disrupt sleep.
The Benefits of Good Sleep
Why make a big deal out of sleep? It has great benefits that improve health and quality of life.
Better Weight Regulation
Poor sleeping habits are partly to blame for weight gain. According to the medical information website Healthline, poor sleep leads to increased appetite and fatigue.
A lack of sleep is tied to the increased generation of the hunger hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin informs the brain of hunger, as its levels are higher when a person has an empty stomach and lower after having a meal.
Not getting enough sleep also makes one more tired the next day, which hinders the capability to do proper workouts. In addition to this, poor sleep can cause muscle loss and slow down metabolism.
Good sleeping habits, then, help maintain the hormonal balance that prevents overeating. They also provide enough energy to do athletic activities the next day.
Less Risk for Diseases
Lack of sleep weakens the immune system. It decreases the production of cytokines, which help in fighting infections and other stressors. Poor sleep makes the body more vulnerable to viruses and other illnesses.
By getting enough sleep every night, you avoid various risks of long-term and chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart issues. Sleeping well is a simple method of protecting your body from getting sick.
Ample sleep gives the brain better concentration and cognition. It prepares an individual to take in and retain new information.
On the other hand, sleep deprivation makes it difficult to process data, recall details, and think critically. It hampers the brain’s performance.
A well-rested body allows for better focus and a sharper memory to effectively accomplish the day’s tasks.
Improved Social Interactions
Everyone understands the feeling of waking up cranky after having only a few hours of sleep. This is because sleep affects how the brain regulates emotions and thought processes. Sleep deprivation, then, can cause irritability and grumpiness.
When a person is well-rested, they can better recognize their own emotions and others’ as well. Good sleep improves relationships with other people by helping an individual respond better to various situations, thanks to a sharper mind.
For a Better, Healthier Life
Good sleep promotes good physical and mental health. Neglecting it in favor of other, seemingly more “productive” activities is detrimental to any person’s long-term wellbeing. Remember that making healthy living a priority involves a holistic approach, including diet, exercise, and, of course, sleep.