Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Health Benefits of Sleep

Sleeping like a baby, health benefits of sleep explained, including mental and physical health benefits
Sleeping like a baby!  Health Benefits of Sleep
We all know how we feel so much better when we’ve had a good night’s sleep!  Getting enough adequate sleep on a regular basis is a key part to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Getting enough adequate sleep can aid both your mental and physical health in more ways than one, including helping to:

·         Boost your mood
·         Improve your memory
·         Sharpen your attention
·         Boost your creativity
·         Improve stamina
·         Maintain your weight
·         Curb inflammation and lower blood pressure
·         Decrease depression and stress
·         Improve emotional well-being
·         Improve overall quality of your life

Let’s take a look at some of the above points in more detail to help you understand how lack of sleep can affect your mental and physical well-being:

How Sleep affects the Brain, Memory, Mood and Mental Health

The brain is surprisingly busy while you sleep and you can use this to your advantage by feeding it positive thoughts before you go to sleep.

While you are sleeping, the mind processes recent events and goes through a consolidation process, strengthening memories, events and skills you have acquired during your waking moments.  It’s kind of like practising in your head what you have learned while you were awake.  This process helps you to perform better in your daily activities, especially after a good night’s sleep.  It’s why athletes have started consciously using this process to their advantage, mentally practising their skills in their head before they go to sleep.  It is also the reason why some professional people have a “power nap” in the middle of the day.

We’ve all heard the saying “sleep on it and you’ll have the answer in the morning”!

While you are sleeping, besides strengthening memories, the brain also reorganizes and restructures memories leading you to create better ideas and helping to improve creativity.

A good night’s sleep will also help to improve a person’s attention span, which is also why some professional people take a “power nap” in the day.   It has been proven that lack of sleep and tiredness can affect your reaction time and decision making abilities, which is why people like truck drivers should have a proper break after a certain amount of driving time.

There’s also the saying “sleep on it and you’ll feel better in the morning”.  If you’ve ever suffered from lack of sleep, you’ll know how irritable you have felt throughout the next day.  A good night’s sleep helps to reduce stress levels, anxiety and depression and so can help to improve your overall mental and emotional well-being.

Physical Health Benefits of Sleep

Consistent adequate sleep can help to improve your overall quality of life, not just mentally but physically as well.

As mentioned above, getting a good night’s sleep regularly can help to reduce stress levels, which in turn can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Research has indicated that people who don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis typically have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than people who do get plenty of sleep.  This inflammation is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more.  So if you can improve your sleeping patterns, you can help to lower your blood pressure and inflammatory proteins to help reduce the risk of these kinds of health problems.

Getting a good night’s sleep will also help to prevent you suffering from daytime fatigue and thus help improve your body’s stamina and performance.  This is particularly important for people performing a physical job or athletes for example.

If you’re looking to maintain a healthy weight, then getting a decent night’s sleep is important for you.  People who get adequate sleep on a regular basis have been found to feel less hungry than those people who don’t sleep well.  In addition, it has been found that dieters who sleep well lose more fat compared to those who don’t sleep well who tend to lose more muscle mass instead.

Ideas to Help you get a Better Night’s Sleep

If you’re one of the many people who suffer from sleeping problems, see my article “2 Relaxation Techniques to Help you Get a Better Night’s Sleep”.  Alternatively why not try one of the following ideas:

N.B.:  It’s advisable to consult your doctor or health care professional if you have any concerns regarding your health or sleeping patterns.  Alternative therapists seek to work in conjunction with the medical profession.  Always consult a registered/licensed alternative therapist before using any alternative therapy.

*Prices/discounts indicated are correct at time of writing/publishing.  E&OE.

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