All too often sleep can be overlooked in our lives. It’s viewed less of a ‘must’ and now more of a “get it over with, we’re busy and can get by with a cup of coffee”. We skimp on our beds and mattresses, and 1 in 3 UK adults don’t get enough sleep. So why is sleep important? Why should we place more focus on what surprisingly should be how a third of our lives needs to be spent? Well, here are 6 ways that a good night of sleep can positively (and perhaps surprisingly) can affect your health and well being:
#1 Improve your memory
Even though you are resting, your mind can be surprisingly busy whilst you’re snoozing. During sleep, your brain strengthens memories and looks at “practicing” skills you have learn whilst you were awake – a process called ‘consolidation’.
If you’re trying to learn something new and retain information –you’ll remember more and perform better after a good night of sleep.
#2 Live Longer – and happier.
It’s well known that too little sleep can be associated with a shorter lifespan, though it’s not completely clear whether it’s a cause or effect with long term illness affecting sleep patterns too. However in 2010, a study showed that more deaths occurred in individuals that got less than five hours sleep per night.
That aside, sleep notably affects our mood and our quality of life. Those who find themselves with sleep neglect are more susceptible to depression and stress – leaving them generally in a spiralling cycle of lack of one exacerbating the other. A good night’s sleep is not just crucial for a longer life, but for living a better, happier one too.
#3 Become a sporting champ
Are you an athlete? Or in the mix for next year’s marathons? Sleep can massively improve your performance. A study of American football players showed that those who tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for 7-8 weeks improved their average sprint time and had less daytime fatigue as well as more stamina.
#4 Increased creativity and productivity.
In addition to your brain ‘consolidating’ your memories when you sleep, your brain also reorganises and restructures your thinking – which can result in increased creativity and productivity.
#5 Maintain a healthy weight
Diets aren’t the only thing to consider if you’re looking at maintaining or losing weight. You might want to plan on an earlier bedtime too. Researchers found that well rested dieters lost more fat – 56% of their weight loss – than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle mass.
Sleep and metabolism are also controlled by the same area of the brain – so by getting enough sleep you are regulating the hormones that affect and drive your appetite.
#6 Avoid accidents
Did you know that being tired accounted for the highest number of fatal single car-run-off-the-road crashes? Higher than any alcohol or drug related accidents, lack of sleep is one of the biggest killers on our roads. Insufficient sleep for even one night can be as detrimental to your driving ability as having an alcoholic drink.
Written by Sarah Mitchell. Sarah is a freelance writer writing for http://www.boothsfurnitureltd.co.uk/ with a passion for interior design, mental health and always on the look out for her next challenge.