Surprising Ways Getting Enough Sleep Makes Your Life Better
A current hot topic is the importance of getting enough sleep. We all know how bad it feels the next day after a sleepless night. Did you know that how much your sleep affects the deep systems of your body? Without enough sleep, you’re setting yourself up for a range of poor health outcomes, from depression to diabetes. Getting your full seven to nine hours of good sleep can make a huge impact on the quality of your life and deliver a range of surprising benefits.
You’ll think better
Studies have shown that our brains function much better on regular restful sleep. Sleep is the downtime the brain needs to do essential chores like consolidating memories, processing emotions, and recovering from the day's processing.
You’ll perform better at work
To get your best performance at the office, you need to have your brain operating at its top capacity. REM sleep is necessary to be able to solve problems and come up with innovative solutions. As you spend only 20% of your sleep time in REM sleep, you need to make sure you get enough sleep overall to get your full dose of REM.
Sleep helps keep your genes healthy
Scientists have found that chronic sleep deprivation affects the functioning of your genes. Sleep is necessary for proper gene function including the genes that influence your immunity, inflammation and how well you deal with stress.
You’ll age better
Sleep is super important for the production of collagen which is crucial for skin repair and cell renewal as well as skin hydration. Not getting enough sleep sets you up for premature skin aging, as you’re not producing enough collagen. Your skin also needs sleep to recover from sun exposure. So, do your skin a favor and get some sleep!
You may live longer
Getting enough sleep is crucial for the body’s cells to renew and repair. All of your body’s systems use the downtime of sleep to recalibrate and process, getting rid of waste products and strengthening cell walls. Your immune system can recharge and prepare itself better to fight off disease and illness. Your body will be in much better shape to deal with the stresses of the day.
How to Overcome Sleep Procrastination
You may not have heard of sleep procrastination, but it’s a safe bet that you have experienced it! Little kids are past masters at putting off the evil hour of bedtime, but even adults can find themselves avoiding going to bed at a reasonable time.
Whether it’s fear of missing out or getting caught up in a movie or book that’s too riveting to put down, sleep procrastination is a real thing. And lack of sleep sets you up for a bad day.
If you’re consistently not getting your recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, here are some tips to help you get to bed earlier.
Check your evening activities
The first thing to do is to work out why you’re not getting to bed earlier. What activities are keeping you up? Are you still doing household chores or accounts right before bed? Make sure you get these chores out of the way early in the evening or at the weekend.
Know your sleep needs
If you know you’re the sort of person who thrives on a good eight hours sleep, you need to make sure you get what you need. Some people do well on less sleep, while others need more. You might be keen to get to the gym first thing in the morning, or maybe you know you can’t face anything until after eight. Whatever your pattern, you need to calibrate your bedtime to match!
Setting a cast iron bedtime is setting yourself up for failure. It can lead to insomnia as your anxiety levels rise if you’re not asleep by the appointed time. Aim for a time and allow yourself an hour’s leeway and take the stress out of bedtime.
Limit evening screentime
You’ve probably heard about the effect of electronic devices on sleep. There’s plenty of research that suggests that limiting screen time in the evening will help you sleep better, deeper and longer.
Have a bedtime ritual
Work out what routine sets you up for a good night’s sleep. Your childhood bath, warm milk, and story time will also work now you’re an adult. A bath with some aromatic oils will soothe and relax you. A warm drink of milk, honey, and cinnamon is calming. And reading a book in bed will soon lull you off to sleep.
However you decide to deal with your sleep procrastination, be kind to yourself. Beating yourself up for not sleeping is a sure-fire recipe for insomnia. Working out the best bedtime for you will help you sleep better and set you up for a better day ahead. Even if you're finding it difficult to get a full eight hours, science has found that regular cat naps to supplement your night’s sleep can help.
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