A healthy lifestyle is pivotal if you wish to maintain excellent physical and mental well-being. However, this well-being is invariably influenced by how long and well the body and mind can rest.
Since chronic sleeplessness leads to destructive consequences in the human body, you need to pay more attention to your sleep. In this article, we’ll outline 15 of the essential benefits of sleep to show why everyone needs to get a good rest.
These benefits have an impact on almost every area of our life. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to several medical conditions, including obesity and diabetes. This is why we’ll be starting with the vital health benefits you receive from a full night’s sleep.
1. Sleep helps restore your body and strengthen your immune system.
When we sleep, our bodies synthesize additional protein molecules, which helps strengthen our ability to fight infections and stay healthy. There are several sleep benefits linked to the immune system. These produce the necessary defensive molecules for improving our immunity at the cellular level when the body is threatened by stress, pollutants, or bacterial infections.
On the other hand, sleep deficiency hampers the immune system, which leaves us prone to various diseases and infections. Therefore, if we sleep enough, the likelihood of getting sick is smaller.
Moreover, getting the proper quantity and quality of sleep helps you to recover faster after an illness. For example, when you have a cold or the flu, your immune system weakens, but with sufficient sleep, it recovers much faster. First and foremost, the greatest health benefits come from getting enough sleep. So there’s no reason to ask, Why is sleep so good?
2. Sleep is essential to your heart’s health.
Everyday stress and physical activity put our cardiovascular system under serious strain. And increased levels of stress hormones raise our inflammation levels. Moreover, inflammation is thought to cause the body to deteriorate as it ages. With this in mind, high levels of “inflammatory markers” are associated with a greater risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes (see below).
The good news is that good sleep reduces inflammation and helps you maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This is another example of how your sleep and health are closely related.
3. Sleep may help prevent cancer.
Did you know that people who work night shifts have a higher risk of developing breast and colon cancer? Researchers believe that exposure to light lowers melatonin levels. Melatonin—a hormone that regulates the circadian rhythm—is thought to protect against cancer, as it appears to suppress tumor growth. This is one of the top reasons why sleep is important.
To help your body produce the right quantity of melatonin, be sure your bedroom is dark. Also, avoid using electronics at bedtime.
4. Good sleep ensures steadier blood sugar levels.
Did you know that getting regular, healthy sleep reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes?
Getting back to the health benefits of sleep, we have to emphasize the importance of reaching the deep, slow-wave portion of the sleep cycle. Here, your blood sugar levels drop. Not enough time spent in this stage of sleep means your body has a harder time reacting to your cells’ needs while properly regulating blood glucose levels.
If you achieve enough deep sleep, you’ll be less likely to get type 2 diabetes. This also improves certain issues with obesity.
5. Sleep helps you control your body weight.
Regular, full sleep plays a vital role in controlling the hormones that affect appetite, which again highlights the importance of sleep. 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. In other words, if you want to lose weight, it’s important to sleep well.
Speaking of the benefits of sleep, a scholarly article from the scientists at Uppsala University in Sweden showed that you’ll have a better figure if you sleep well. According to them, sleep shortages help you add on a few extra pounds and slow your metabolism. The researchers also suggest that you should sleep on a suitable mattress if you want to avoid weight gain.
6. Sleep reduces stress.
In addition, the benefits of getting enough sleep also include managing smaller levels of stress and anxiety. By regulating the synthesis of stress hormones, you reduce the risk of a rise in blood pressure.
On the other hand, stress causes cell degeneration, which is one of the main reasons for premature aging. That’s why you have to sleep enough to be able to relax fully, helping you stay younger longer.
Scientists have proven countless times that getting enough sleep is necessary for your health, so we should listen to their tips. You need to get at least eight hours of rest. Not getting enough sleep will impact your mental state, causing several problems, one of which is stress. Stress remains one of the most common short- and long-term effects of sleep deprivation on the brain.
7. Sleep improves memory.
You’ve probably noticed that every time you sleep terribly, your mind seems blurred afterward. Regular sleeplessness can lead to memory problems that interfere with the normal rhythms you need to maintain to stay healthy.
However, sleeping well eliminates these difficulties because while you’re sleeping, your brain stays busy organizing and matching memories. One of the great benefits of good sleep is that it allows your brain to better process new experiences and knowledge by increasing your understanding and memory.
Data from a recent study suggests that sleep helps restart the brain-related memory connections that then leave the brain fresh and ready to build new connections. In fact, more than 50,000 related journal articles were published in PubMed regarding the benefits of sleep, the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) shows.
At the end of the day, the links in our brain are tense, “saturated” with all the conversations, images, and facts gathered during the time we were awake. Sleep weakens these connections, which then helps cleanse the brain and prepare it for the next day.
If the brain didn’t weaken these connections, it wouldn’t be able to form new ones, thus impeding the coding of new memories. One of the most significant benefits of sleeping early for students is the improvement of memory—especially before an exam.
During deep REM sleep our brain processes all our experiences and emotions from the past day, and this process is crucial for memory formation. Different studies showed that students who regularly didn’t get enough sleep had worse memory than those who got a healthy night’s sleep.
8. Sleep helps you better perceive new information.
The information we accumulate during the day is too much. While we sleep our brain filters everything we experienced during the day to capture the most important elements.
This saves space in our operating memory for new information. Valuable research on sleep benefits includes studies that treat sleep like a restart of brain-related memory connections. This leaves the brain fresh and ready to build new memories.
9. Sleep for better concentration.
Your concentration levels decrease gradually with reduced sleep, both in terms of quantity and quality. Almost two out of every three people fail to sleep well, often evaluating their sleep quality as very bad or terrible. This makes it hard to concentrate during the day.
According to some surveys, 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.
If you get a full night’s sleep, you’ll be more focused, productive, creative, and successful throughout the day. Among the other well-known benefits of sleep, your speech abilities often improve with good sleep.
10. You make better decisions when you sleep enough.
We’ve all heard the notion, if we “sleep on a problem,” we’ll solve it in the morning. Scientists have found that when we have a problem and go to sleep, even when we fall asleep, our brain still looks 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.
11. You can improve your work capacity and creativity by sleeping well.
When we sleep more, we improve our mental and athletic abilities. An experiment in 2011 was done with five swimmers. They slept for 10 hours a day for two months. Each of them improved their speed and technique. Results like these are some of the best long-term benefits of sleep.
Besides robbing you of energy and time for muscle repair, lack of sleep saps your motivation, which is what gets you to the finish line. You’ll face a harder mental and physical challenge and see slower reaction times if you don’t get enough sleep.
Good quality sleep recharges us and helps us cope better with our everyday tasks. Proper rest sets you up for your best performance and highest level of creativity, accentuating once again the restorative benefits of sleep.
12. You’ll have a good mood if you sleep well.
Nearly two-thirds of people blame their bad mood on lack of sleep when they feel irritable. Conversely, good sleep gives us a good feeling in the morning while also infusing the body with more energy and a sense of cheerfulness.
Besides, when relaxed, you’re more interested in engaging in physical activity and enjoying positive feelings.
13. Good sleep makes you more attractive.
The benefits of sleep for our skin and overall appearance has been demonstrated in an article published by the British Medical Journal. It showed that regular, complete rest makes us look healthier and more attractive to others.
An experiment was conducted with twenty-three people. A photographer took pictures of them both after no sleep and after they had slept for eight hours. The pictures were shown to 60 people who had to judge which people from the photographs looked healthy and attractive, and which didn’t have a youthful look. The photos of people who hadn’t slept were 100% distinguished, meaning the people in these photos were all placed in the second category.
Sleeping on your back is particularly good for your complexion, but every sleeping position has its pros and cons.
14. You’ll live longer if you sleep enough.
The healing power of sleep has been proved once again. Meanwhile, a regular lack of sleep is considered a risk factor that can shorten your lifespan. When your body’s stressed and lacks energy, you run the risk of developing various diseases. Scientists have found that people who sleep less than 6 hours a day are at a much greater risk of early death than their peers who sleep 7–8 hours a day. How much sleep you need depends on your age, which is clearly presented in the fascinating infographic about sleep facts and stats.
15. Sleep improves romantic relationships.
The sleep benefits for men and women also include having a better sex life. According to the 2010 Sleep in America Poll, the better you sleep and relax, the more fulfilling your sexual experiences will be. Indeed, 23% of couples in the US have admitted that both their family and sexual lives were negatively impacted by poor sleep.
What is the advantage of sleeping?
Sleeping well undoubtedly benefits your health—this specifically includes your immune system, cardiovascular system, and life expectancy, as well as your ability to fight diabetes and cancer. Plus, your family life, study and work performance (like memory, creativity, concentration, and perception), mood, and physical activity (athletic achievements) are all likely to improve after you get the right amount of sleep.
Is 8 hours of sleep important?
The need for sleep varies, but on average, regularly sleeping more than 9 hours per night can cause more harm than good. Studies have shown that people who sleep longer have more calcium in the heart’s arteries and less flexible arteries in their legs.
It’s best to shoot for 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night if you want the maximum health benefits.
What happens to your brain when you don’t get enough sleep?
After the first sleepless night, the brain increases dopaminergic activity: it releases excess amounts of dopamine. This gives you energy and feelings of cheerfulness and joy, while even increasing your libido.
However, within 36 hours after your last sleep, the brain starts to “turn off.” This reduces activity in areas of the brain associated with action planning, resulting in more impulsive and uncontrollable behavior. This is when the real fatigue hits—your reactions slow down, and the brain’s ability to receive and process information becomes challenging. Within 48 hours, hallucinations may even occur.
After reading about all the benefits of sleep, don’t you want to sleep better? Your sleep defines your health—don’t deprive yourself of it. So for excellent rest, please consider all the important factors that may improve or hinder the quality of your sleep.