So, you’ve decided to be healthy. You’re eating the right kind of food, exercising daily, and staying active. And yet, you’re still tired, you’re still moody and you have deep dark circles under your eyes. What’s missing from this (almost) healthy lifestyle?
A few hours of zzzzz’s.
Sleep can be a potent force in our lives – but it has to be used correctly. Many of us can’t relax enough to sleep early and as a result, we wake up late the next morning – it’s a vicious cycle. However, if you’re diligent and stick to a sleep schedule you’ll wake up with a brighter smile, a fresher mind, and a body thrumming with energy to take on the day. (Also, you’ll get to sleep more). But if you still need to be convinced, here are just a few health benefits of a regular sleep cycle:
- Memory – One of the biggest benefits of a full night’s rest is that it boosts your memory. Even when you’re asleep, your brain is still working, absorbing what you have gone through during the day. Chances are if you’re learning a new language or skill, a good night’s rest will ensure that you remember it a lot faster.
- Longevity: Many stories will have you believe that the key to immortality or long lives lies in magic, elixirs, and potions. While we’re not aiming for immortality here, studies have shown that too little or too much sleep can cut into your lifespan. On the flip side, just the right amount of sleep could help you live longer. It’s all the magic you need.
- Mood: This one is fairly obvious – too little or too much sleep can blot out your jolly side, and leave you cranky as a bear. It can make you feel incredibly stressed over normal situations, which in turn can increase your blood pressure significantly.
- Weight control: It’s ironic that many consider sleeping a form of “slacking off”. It’s seen as lazy and indulgent and detrimental to losing weight. However, sleep is a key player in the weight loss game. The reasons are both psychological (how are you supposed to gather up the energy to exercise on no sleep?) and biological (a hormone known as leptin keeps your stomach full. Less sleep means a drop in your leptin levels).
- Mental health: A lack of sleep can lower your defenses to mental health issues like anxiety, panic, and depression. Sleep and mental health are intricately connected and many patients who suffer from depression, point to a clear lack/ excess of sleep in their life.
- Prevents diseases: A proper sleep cycle can reduce the chance of heart disease, strokes, inflammation, cell damage, diabetes, and more. It strengthens your immune system, giving you the opportunity to fight off infections and viruses.
Need we say more?
So tonight, have a soothing bath, change into your comfiest pajamas and cuddle under the covers. Make sure you avoid your phone, laptop, or a book. Take a few deep breaths and let the tension seep out of your muscles. Close your eyes and drift away from your day. Trust us, you’ll reap the rewards tomorrow.