6 Reasons Why We All Should Sleep More
N.B. This blog is also available in Finnish and you’ll find it here
I have always been a bad sleeper, I mean a really bad sleeper. I’ve never understood how people take naps (no, not even when I was a kid), and have always been an early bird. When I get excited about something, and don’t have enough time to do everything I would like to, a night sleep is always the thing that suffers. Not a good choice!
I have now for a while tried to fix the situation, because I understand that a good night’s sleep makes miracles. Well, not miracles, but it makes me feel better. In fact, it’s just as important as eating healthy and exercising. A good night’s sleep allows me to wake up feeling refreshed and able to stay awake while running errands during the day.
But there are also some more reasons why we all should sleep enough to be the best versions of us. Check the facts that I gathered for you and turn off the TV (and tablet and put that phone away too!) and get in to the bed earlier tonight!
Support your immune system. This was maybe the biggest reason for me to take care of my sufficient sleep. Studies have shown, that our immune system works best when we get adequate sleep, and may help you fight against illnesses. Sleeping less than 7-8 hours (of course there is some variation between us individuals) per night is also linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and many studies have shown a strong link between short sleep duration and type 2 diabetes risk!
Don’t gain weight. You have probably noticed that when you’re feeling tired, you reach easier toward that bag of chips or candies, even though you just had perfectly satisfying meal. Insufficient sleep leads to excessive production of a hormone called ghrelin, and this hormone is an appetite-promoting hormone. It also impedes the production of leptin, an appetite-suppressing hormone. Basically this means that when you sleep less, this hormone makes you feel hungrier.
Learn easier. Not only does sleep deprivation lead to poor health, it also affects your concentration, problem solving skills, productivity, performance, memory and reaction times. When you’re trying to learn something new, whether it is a new language or a golf swing, your brain needs time to “handle” the new info. This all happens when you’re sleeping and aren’t able to give new stimuli at the same time.
Feel better emotionally. Studies show that people who doesn’t sleep enough to meet their needs, have a much higher incidence of anxiety disorders and depression. The explanation for this is, that sleep deprived people produce easier higher rates of stress hormones than others. This puts their bodies in a hyper-aroused state that can make it difficult for them to wind down, and which makes even harder to fall asleep, and a vicious circle is ready. Inversely, more and better-quality sleep can make you feel happier!
Build muscles. While you’re sleeping, your body produces most of the growth hormone, which in a nutshell means in adults’ tissue repairing. So if you’re a body builder or an athlete (or just a person who wants to look fit), it is crucial to get enough sleep to allow your musculoskeletal system to restore itself. Longer sleep has also been shown to improve many aspects of athletic and physical performance, such as speed, reaction times and accuracy.
Look better. It’s no wonder I look terrible after a sleepless night! Related to the previous point, a good night’s sleep also helps you look better. Studies have shown, that people who sleep only four or five hours a night for several nights in a row have more headaches and stomach problems, but also undergo changes in metabolism similar to those occurring with normal aging. The biggest reason for that is, that when we don’t sleep enough, growth hormone is almost negligible and it can’t renew your skin. Chronic sleep deprivation also causes inflammation and dehydration of the skin. So let’s sleep more and look stunning!
On the basis of all these things to the above, I could say that sleep is vital both for your emotional and physical well-being, and there is no substitute (not even caffeine!). Get more sleep, starting right now!