Sleep is a vital part of maintaining good health for the body and mind. The days of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” or getting by on 4 hours a night are OVER. Research has proven how essential deep, restorative sleep is for every system in the body. Here are a few of the many health benefits of restful sleep.
- Boosts the immune system
Sleep allows your immune cells to recover, which keeps them ready to help fight off infections, colds, the flu, and other illnesses.
- Prevents weight gain
Sleep keeps certain hormones related to weight gain and satiation in balance, specifically ghrelin (which boosts appetite) and leptin (which signals when you are full). Lack of sleep, usually accompanied by stress and lack of energy, often leads to extra food cravings and overeating.
- Lifts your mood
The feeling of waking up after a good night of sleep is priceless! You’ll feel restored, renewed, more focused, more productive, and able to handle the stressors of life with ease. Sleep can even help improve concentration and memory. If you’ve got a big day at work coming up, make sure you get good sleep the night before so you’re at your best.
- Strengthens your heart
Lack of sleep increases the release of the stress hormone cortisol. An excess of cortisol can lead to high blood pressure or heart issues. Your heart needs rest, too.
- Decreases inflammation
Lack of sleep causes inflammation and cell damage, which preoccupies your immune system, making the body more vulnerable to disease.
- Repairs your skin
Sleep is truly the fountain of youth. It allows the body to repair and recover itself overnight. Good sleep is the key to fewer wrinkles, brighter eyes, healthy hair, and a glowing complexion. Best of all, this anti-aging treatment is “free!”.
Make Good Sleep a Habit
A proper sleep regimen is key to achieving the 7-8 hour a night sweet spot for sleep benefits. Even on our best days, it can be hard to get a good night of rest. Life is complicated, stressful, and anxiety-provoking. Here are a few bedtime habits that will help promote deep, restful sleep.
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule, even on the weekends. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.
- Set a bedtime that will ensure at least 7 hours of sleep.
- Create a soothing environment for sleep. A cool but comfortable room temperature can work wonders.
- Remove all electronics from the bedroom (including a TV) to reduce stimulation.
- Put your phone away an hour before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime. Both disturb sleep patterns.
- Consider a sound machine that uses white noise to cover up sounds that distract you from sleep.
- Consider a meditation session to help reduce mental stimulation and reset the brain, preparing it for sleep.
- Avoid naps during the day, or take a catnap of 30 minutes or less for a quick refresh.
- Create an exercise routine that helps reduce stress chemicals in the body.
A proper sleep regimen with good sleep hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health. Good sleep is essential for the body to perform at its optimal level, both physically and mentally. Not to mention it gives you energy and leaves you glowing! Try implementing a few of these tips in your bedtime routine tonight, and see what a difference restful sleep can have in your life.