We all know that we are supposed to get a good night’s sleep every day in order to be at our best but what are the actual benefits of this and how do we achieve better sleep?
Lack of sleep is linked to a host of health problems, from depression to cardiovascular disease. Do you find yourself feeling irritable and lacking in energy when you haven’t had enough sleep? Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function.
Benefits of sleep
Lowers stress levels
Sleep is proven to reduce stress levels, which leads to better control of blood pressure. Stress from health and sleeping can both affect cardiovascular health.
Improves memory and test results
Whilst sleeping there is a process called consolidation. This strengthens the memories you learnt while you were awake. So if you are studying for exams or doing a course to learn a new skill then getting sufficient sleep will help you perform better!
Studies suggest that students who didn’t get enough sleep had worse grades than those who did. "If you’re trying to meet a deadline, you’re willing to sacrifice sleep," Dr. Rapoport, a professor specialising in sleep medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center says, "but it’s severe and reoccurring sleep deprivation that clearly impairs learning"
Healthy body weight
Do you ever find yourself feeling more hungry when you haven't had a good nights sleep or had a heavy night out? Research suggests that those without enough sleep feel more hungry than those that get enough sleep. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who weren’t sleep deprived lost more fat (56% of their weight loss) than those who weren’t well rested, who lost more muscle mass.
Insufficient sleep for a night can be as detrimental to your driving ability as having an alcoholic drink. In 2009, The NHTSA - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration carried out a report which found that the highest number of fatal single car run-off-the-road crashes cause were concluded to the driver being tired. This is due to tiredness affecting your concentration and decision making.
Hitting your fitness goals
Evidence suggests that sleep can play a significant role in athletic performance and competitive results. In an article written by The National Sleep Foundation they stated that 'The quality and amount of sleep athletes get is often the key to winning. REM sleep in particular provides energy to both the brain and body. If sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have time to repair memory, consolidate memory, and release hormones.' So if you find yourself staying up watching TV episodes then set yourself a limit to ensure you are giving your body enough rest.
How to improve your sleep
In order to get the best night’s sleep you must have a daily routine to set your body and mind up for the rest period.
This is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your health and sleep. It has been used as a method to treat insomnia. A study indicated that this provided 41 extra minutes of sleep a night to those whom exercised. It is not however advised to take exercise too late in the evening as this can stimulate the brain, which increases the hormones epinephrine and adrenaline, increasing alertness.
Relax and avoid working
Ensuring that you have a period of time to wind down and avoid working late at night will help your body to relax. Techniques include, having a bath, listening to music, reading a book, lighting a candle and meditating.
The temperature of your bedroom, noises and lighting can have a significant impact on your sleep quality. Numerous studies suggest that external noise from vehicles outside can cause poor sleep. Although this may be difficult to improve, you can ensure that windows are closed and the TV is not left on when falling asleep. In the summer, to avoid opening the window when its warm look at getting a fan if air conditioning is not an option. Studies suggest that if your body temperature is increased then this can decrease your sleep quality.
Avoid drinking tea or coffee too late in the day. Caffeine can be great for concentration when you need to focus and have energy, therefore, if consumed late in the day this is going to stimulate your nervous system and could stop your body from relaxing and preparing to sleep.
Magnesium is clinically proven to enhance sleep quality. Low levels of magnesium are linked to a number of health conditions such as, Alzheimer's, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Zinc consumption helps to have a longer interrupted sleep with less wake-ups in the night. It is a safe sleep aid and also has a calming & antidepressant effect.
Immuniti’s supplements include magnesium and zinc, along with all the other daily nutrients your body requires to be healthy.
Ultimately sleep plays an important role in your health and well-being so making it a priority in your daily life is imperative to overall happiness.