21 Benefits of Sleep That Will Make You Wanna Stay in Bed
written by/ January 27, 2022
A healthy lifestyle is essential if you wish to be in top shape, both physically and mentally. But no lifestyle is healthy if it doesn’t include getting enough sleep. Indeed, the benefits of sleep on your well-being go way beyond just having enough energy to get through the day. In a way, how much and how well you sleep will define your life.
In this article, we’ll outline 21 vital sleep-related gains that demonstrate why everyone needs to get good shut-eye all the time.
And while there are many perks to a good night’s rest, chronic sleeplessness leads to consequences destructive for the human body, like obesity and diabetes.
Let’s learn to appreciate sleep by looking at all the ways it improves our lives.
Physical Benefits of Sleep
1. Sleeping Helps You Prevent and Fight Off Infections
When we sleep, our bodies synthesize proteins that help strengthen our ability to fight infections and stay healthy.
These proteins represent the necessary defensive molecules for improving our immunity at the cellular level when the body is threatened by stress, pollutants, or bacterial infections. This is one of the most important sleep benefits for our physical health.
On the other hand, sleep deficiency hampers the immune system, leaving us more vulnerable to various diseases and infections. Therefore, if we sleep enough, our likelihood of getting sick is lower.
Moreover, getting the proper quantity and quality of sleep helps you recover faster from viral infections. For example, when you have a cold or the flu, your immune system is in full fighting mode, and sufficient sleep makes it more efficient, therefore speeding up your recovery.
2. Good Sleep Benefits Your Heart Health
Everyday stress, a sedentary lifestyle, and fatty foods put our cardiovascular system under serious strain.
When we’re not properly rested, our bodies produce more of the stress hormone cortisol. This is known to:
- Raise inflammation levels
- Increase blood pressure
- Increase blood cholesterol and triglycerides
- Promote plaque buildup in the arteries (atherosclerosis)
All these raise the risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis, etc. In the case of CVDs, the sleep and health link has been well-documented.
The good news is, quality sleep reduces inflammation and helps you preserve your cardiovascular health, potentially sparing you from hospitalization, frightening medical bills, and death.
3. Satisfying Rest Prevents Cancer
Did you know that people who work night shifts have a higher risk of developing breast and colon cancer?
Melatonin, the hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm, is thought to protect against cancer, as it appears to suppress tumor growth. Exposure to light lowers melatonin levels, particularly for those who are awake during nighttime.
Getting enough melatonin is one of the main benefits of sleeping early and waking up early, on top of all the other advantages such a lifestyle has.
That said, you need the right sleeping environment to help your body produce melatonin. At bedtime, turn off all the lights in your bedroom, and avoid using electronics. If this doesn’t help, you can always get a melatonin supplement to aid your sleep and overall health.
4. Regular Z’s Level Out Your Blood Sugar
Many scientific studies prove that proper metabolic regulation is impossible without a good night’s sleep. The importance of REM sleep is emphasized in particular, because in this portion of the sleep cycle your blood sugar drops.
Lack of REM sleep can lead to insulin intolerance, which means your cells lose the ability to make good use of blood glucose. Needless to say, this is a step towards diabetes and other metabolic diseases, including metabolic syndrome and obesity.
5. Adequate Sleep Equals Longevity
The restorative and healing power of sleep has been proven time and again. Sleep extends your lifespan thanks to three main processes:
- Cell and tissue regeneration
Hormonal, metabolic, and mental balance are all attained through quality sleep. All these are essential for good health. During sleep, the growth hormone is released into the bloodstream—hence the enormous importance of sleep for children.
How much sleep you need depends on your age, as clearly presented in this informative infographic about sleep. Moreover, a lack of sleep makes you drowsy and more likely to be involved in a dangerous accident, be it driving or handling tools.
All-in-all, scientists found that people who sleep less than six hours a night are at a much greater risk of early death than their peers who sleep seven to eight hours a day.
Beauty Benefits of Sleep
We all know that feeling good makes you look good, but you can’t feel well if you don’t sleep well. Here are the most important testaments to this statement.
6. Restful Nights Boost Your Workouts
When we sleep more, we improve our mental and athletic abilities. An experiment from 2011 involving eleven basketball players examined the long-term benefits of sleep on physical performance. All eleven players slept for 10 hours a day for two months; measures of their speed and shooting accuracy were taken each day during training. The result? Prolonged sleep had a positive effect on their overall performance.
Restorative sleep shapes the processes involved in conditioning your workout. For example, quality sleep improves your:
- Muscle strength
- Heart rate
7. You’re More Attractive when Well-Rested
The benefits of proper sleep on our overall appearance have been demonstrated multiple times. For example, in an article published by the British Medical Journal, twenty-three people were photographed both after no sleep (31 hours awake) and after they had slept for eight hours.
The pictures were then judged by 65 people based on how healthy, tired, and attractive the people in the photos looked. Results showed that people were more likely to be thought of as sick, tired, and unattractive if they hadn’t had enough sleep.
8. Sleep Slows Down Aging
The benefits of sleep for our skin are primarily reflected in the production of new collagen, which happens during sleep. Collagen is the elastic protein in your skin that repairs it and prevents sagging.
Sleeping on your back is particularly good for your complexion. If a wrinkle-free face is your goal, you’d be better off choosing a back-pain-friendly mattress, so you can sleep like this.
9. Sleeping Helps You Lose Weight
Regular and ample sleep plays a vital role in regulating the hormones that affect appetite, which highlights the importance of sleep for weight regulation. Many studies show that, when the body is deprived of sleep, our average hormonal balance is disturbed and our appetite increases.
Unfortunately, this increase in appetite doesn’t lead to craving healthy foods. Rather, we want foods high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates to compensate for our lack of energy. In other words, if you want to lose weight, it’s important to sleep well.
Speaking of the weight-related health benefits of sleep, a study from the Uppsala University in Sweden shows that, not only does losing sleep cause cravings and slow down your metabolism, it actually affects your muscles, too.
In other words, the study found that insufficient sleep promotes sarcopenia—a disease characterized by muscle mass and function deterioration—which, in turn, leads to increased danger of frailty and early mortality.
In other words, sleeping on a suitable mattress for enough time is a literal life-saver!
Psychological Benefits of Sleep
Everyone has more or less experienced the grumpiness that follows a sleepless night. But to what extent does sleep affect our mental well-being? Find out in the next section.
10. Sleep Reduces Stress
We’ve already mentioned that cortisol levels are influenced by how much you sleep. Besides blood pressure regulation, the stress hormone also affects your response to stressful situations during the day.
So, one of the most tangible benefits of getting enough sleep is having a calmer response in the face of everyday stressful situations. The connection between sleep and stress goes both ways, too. A lack of sleep makes you stressed out, but scientists have also shown that heightened stress increases sleep disturbances and worsens the risk of severe insomnia.
The impact a lack of sleep has on your mental health is pretty broad, and increased stress remains one of the most common short- and long-term effects of sleep deprivation on the brain.
11. Being Rested Makes You Frendlier
Nearly two-thirds of people blame feeling irritable on a lack of sleep. Conversely, sleeping well and enough makes us feel good, thanks to our replenished energy. This often manifests as a sense of cheerfulness. And since sleeping better means being more relaxed, you’ll be more interested in going out and enjoying positive feelings.
12. Sleeping Boosts Self-Confidence
Studies that examine the link between mental health and sleep confirm that sleeping enough means:
- Increased self-confidence
- Better decision-making
- Improved cognitive capacity
All these make you more ambitious, and more importantly, more successful in what you do. Fully rested people are less impulsive, which means that they are better at strategizing to reach a goal.
13. Good Sleep Makes You a Better Romantic Partner
The sleep benefits for men and women also include having a better sex life. The 2010 Sleep and Ethnicity poll found that, among other things, the better you sleep and relax, the more fulfilling your sexual experiences will be.
Indeed, around 20% of couples of all ethnicities in the US said that both their family and sexual lives were negatively impacted by poor sleep. Lack of sleep also seems to quell sexual desire, so getting at least seven hours of shut-eye per night might be crucial to a healthy sex life, too.
Sleep and Mental Health
There’s a bi-directional link between mental health conditions and sleep quality: Suffering from mental health issues has been linked to poor sleep. On the other hand, sleeping badly makes your mental health more fragile and susceptible to aggravation from all sorts of stressors.
14. Sleep Helps with Depression
Successful depression treatment is often contingent on getting enough quality rest. This makes it doubly difficult to treat, as insomnia is one of the common symptoms of this mental health issue.
The reasons why sleep is important for treating depression are still a mystery. One of the most worrying statistics relating to this problem is that depressed people whose symptoms include insomnia make more attempts to end their own life than those who manage to sleep through the night.
15. Sleep Helps with Anxiety
As previously mentioned, a lack of sleep will affect your mood. In severe cases, it may instigate anxiety, and it’s always detrimental to those already suffering from anxiety.
Regular NREM sleep has a positive effect on anxiety. In the deepest stage of sleep, the brain processes emotions. This answers a small part of the question of “Why is sleep important in psychology?”
16. The More You Sleep, the Better You Cope with ADHD
ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder makes it hard for those affected to fall asleep. However, sleep is crucial in attenuating ADHD symptoms. Different medications and environment adjustments can alleviate the issues people with ADHD have when falling asleep. These include comforting weighted blankets and effective natural sleep aids.
Cognitive Benefits of Sleep
Quality sleep boosts cognitive functions essential in everyday activities, making good sleepers excel in work tasks, problem-solving, and decision-making.
17. Sleep Improves Memory
You’ve probably noticed that every time you sleep terribly, your mind seems blurred afterward. Mild memory loss is one of the most frequent short–term effects of sleep deprivation.
Regular sleeplessness can lead to memory problems that interfere with the normal task performance you need to effectuate on daily basis.
This happens because, while you’re sleeping, your brain stays busy organizing and matching memories—a process known as memory consolidation. In other words, sleeping well doesn’t “improve” memory—it needs it to function at all.
Data from a recent study suggests that sleep helps our brain retain its plasticity—i.e., moldability—which essentially represents the potential for you to create new patterns of memory and behavior.
18. Learning Is Easier when Rested
The importance of sleep for students, in particular, is reflected in that it allows your brain to better process new experiences and knowledge.
At the end of the day, the links in our brain are tense, “saturated” with all the conversations, images, and facts gathered when we were awake. Sleeping consolidates all these memories and leaves your brain ready to take on new ones the next day. That’s why cramming with no sleep before an exam rarely actually works.
In fact, the most significant benefits of sleeping early for students manifest themselves when you don’t disrupt your sleep schedule just because it’s exam season.
19. Sleeping Well Helps Focus
Your concentration levels decrease gradually with reduced sleep, both in terms of quantity and quality. More than half of us have trouble concentrating after sleeping poorly. A lack of sleep and the subsequent fatigue affect judgment, problem-solving skills, and creativity.
That said, if you get a full night’s sleep, you’ll be more focused, productive, and inspired. Among the other well-known benefits of sleep, your speech abilities often improve if you’ve rested enough.
20. Sleep Improves Decision-Making
At some point or another, all of us have said we’ll “sleep on it” when trying to solve a problem. Well, some studies indicate that, when we have a problem and go to sleep, our brain keeps looking for a solution.
Even if you don’t wake up with a ready answer, your brain is prepared to assess the problem again. Making better decisions is among the essential top 10 health benefits of sleep.
21. Poor Sleep Means Poor Motivation
Besides robbing you of energy and time for muscle repair, lack of sleep saps your motivation, too. Everything will become a harder mental and physical challenge, and your reaction times will slow, if you don’t get enough sleep. On the other hand, proper rest sets you up for your best performance and highest level of creativity, accentuating once again the restorative benefits of sleep.
After reading about all the good that comes from a night of quality sleep, don’t you want to sleep better? Your sleep defines your health, so depriving yourself of it is never a good idea, even if it seems like the only way to achieve your goals. Sleep first—everything else later.
What is the advantage of sleeping?
Sleeping well undoubtedly benefits your health, as it repairs everything, including your immune and cardiovascular systems, and overall life expectancy. Proper sleep aids your ability to fight diabetes and cancer, as well.
Sleeping well also improves your social and family life, as well as romantic relationships.
Cognitive performance (like memory, creativity, concentration, and perception), mood, and physical activity (athletic achievements) are all likely to improve after you get a night full of sleep.
Is 8 hours of sleep important?
The specific length of necessary sleep varies from one person to another, but what’s officially referred to as sufficient ranges between seven and nine hours per day. Anything under this range can cause health complications.
On the other hand, studies of sleeping in excess have shown that people who sleep longer than nine hours have more calcium in the heart’s arteries and less flexible arteries in their legs. However, one of the possible explanations for this is that long sleepers actually have more fragmented sleep, which causes the same damage as insufficient continuous rest.
What happens to your brain when you don’t get enough sleep?
The effects of sleep deprivation are many, and divided into sleep deprivation stages:
- Sleeping for just a few hours during the night triggers your brain to release excess amounts of dopamine. This gives you energy and feelings of cheerfulness and joy, even increasing your libido.
- Being awake for 24 hours, however, will make you hungry, fatigued, drowsy, angry, and uncoordinated—the exact opposite of a person who has reaped the benefits of good sleep.
- Within 36 hours, the real fatigue hits: Your reactions slow down, and the brain’s ability to receive and process information is compromised. Activity in areas of the brain associated with action planning is reduced, resulting in more impulsive and uncontrollable behavior, and increased errors.
- After 48 hours awake, hallucinations may occur.
- Hitting the 72-hour mark can mean losing touch with reality. People report experiencing complex hallucinations and disoriented thinking.
Why is sleep important for the brain?
Sleep is essential for healthy cognitive functioning because it enables the restoration of neurons, and with it, the following:
- Memory consolidation
- Learning capacity
- Concentration power
- Emotional processing
How does sleep benefit the body?
Sleep is essential in regulating the internal balance of our bodily functions. In sum, sleep enables:
- Healthy immunity
- Improved physical performance
- Heightened movement speed and coordination
- Metabolic regulation
- Slowed aging
- Mental health recuperation
- Chronic condition alleviation
Is sleep good for the skin?
You’ve probably heard the phrase “beauty sleep.” Well, the expression is grounded in truth, since every time you sleep, you’re getting “beauty sleep.” Sleeping well is the ultimate anti-age treatment:
- We produce collagen during sleep, which prevents the sagging of our skin.
- Skin cells are repaired during sleep.
- Sleep helps the body eliminate metabolic waste, improving our complexion along the way.
- Sleeping locks in the moisture in our skin, preserving its youthfulness.
Besides this, sleeping helps us preserve that healthy glow of our skin, making us more attractive. Looking good is definitely one of the best quick benefits of sleep, along with feeling good.