Ask any parents of a newborn and they’ll tell you about a host of ways that interrupted sleep affects everyday life – from slight forgetfulness, to becoming emotional, to their immune system suffering.
Statistics indicate the average adult requires seven-and-a-half to nine hours of sleep each night to function at their best. But it’s not only quantity of sleep that counts; quality does too.
The Lowdown On Doze
Put simply, there are two types of sleep: REM sleep where you dream and non-REM sleep, which comprises the three stages of light dozing, fairly restorative middle sleep and slow-wave deep sleep.
To ensure you get enough quality sleep, experts recommend avoiding caffeine late in the day, relaxing before bedtime and ensuring your sleep environment, particularly your mattress, is comfortable. Stores such as Sleepy’s have a huge range of mattresses available to help you rest well.
Now here are the four key reasons getting a good-quality sleep is worth doing whatever it takes.
1. Physical Wellbeing
Links between physical wellbeing and sufficient restful sleep have long been established and the evidence is clear: solid sleep gives you better immunity and allows the body to heal from the inside out. That means you are less likely to suffer anything from high blood pressure right through to the common cold if you are sleeping well.
It also has a massive impact on the health of your body’s biggest organ – the skin. Insufficient sleep results in the release of the hormone cortisol, which can lead to the breakdown of collagen.
2. Mental Health
Feeling tired not only affects you the following day but has links to long-term mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Restful sleep allows you to process information and have a brighter outlook on life. Insomnia is actually one of the first symptoms of depression and an American study indicated those with insomnia are five times more likely to suffer from it.
3. Concentration And Memory
If you’re accidentally stashing your car keys in the fridge and your milk in the bathroom cupboard, chances are sleep (or lack of it) is to blame. Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning, allowing your brain to sort important information, create long-term memories and focus. In addition to improving your daily functioning, this also means there’s truth to the saying you should “sleep on it” when it comes to making big decisions.
Recent studies show a definite link between a lack of sleep and hunger. It all comes down to the peptides ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin tells the brain when you’ve had enough to eat. A lack of sleep decreases the amount of leptin produced. In addition, a lack of sleep tends to make people crave foods with a higher fat content.
In today’s busy world, it’s easy to let sufficient rest become low on the priority list. But sleep impacts every area of your life, so ensure you get the right quantity and quality to function at your best.