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Top 5 Benefits of a Well Rested Mind and Body
November 24, 2020
Want to improve the quality of your sleep? Learn why good sleep and a well-rested body and mind are the keys to a happy, productive life.
You have certainly heard this multiple times throughout your life: if you want to live well, you need to sleep well. And while this is, of course, true, it’s easier said than done. It is estimated that one in four Americans suffers from insomnia, and it’s hardly surprising.
Ask yourself: am I feeling well-rested in the morning? Chances are that your answer will be negative. You probably have a hectic life, a demanding job, and weekends filled with activities to keep you and your family busy. All of this, ultimately, can have negative impacts on the quality — and quantity — of your sleep.
In extreme cases, it can end up causing you to experience trouble getting or staying asleep, sometimes turning into full-blown insomnia.
If you belong in this category, you might have noticed that you have started to suffer from both physical and emotional ailments, all stemming from not getting enough sleep.
Have you finally decided to make better sleep your life goal? Then look no further. In this article, we’re going to reveal to you the top five benefits of getting good sleep, and how to achieve it in a consistent and predictable way — once and for all.
A Word on Sleep Stages
Before we dive into the benefits of a good night’s sleep, let’s take a quick look at what sleep is, and what happens during the various stages.
Sleep is a process that involves your cognitive as well as your physical self, which is why it affects the wellbeing of both. Studies about sleep have identified a total of four different sleep stages.
The first stage is the initial transition from a state of awareness to a state of non-deep sleep. This phase only lasts a few minutes and your muscles, breathing, and eye movements begin to slow down.
During the second stage, the slowness of your muscles and breathing increases, while you are still experiencing a lighter type of sleep. Your eye movement stops and your temperature drops. This is generally the longest out of the four sleep stages.
In the third stage, you are entering a deeper type of sleep: the one you truly need to feel refreshed and rested in the morning. Your heartbeat and breathing slow down even more, and it becomes more difficult for you to wake up.
The fourth stage is REM sleep. At this point, your eye movements pick up speed (hence the acronym “rapid eye movement” to which “REM” refers) while the rest of your body experiences some level of paralysis, and brain waves are more similar to those seen during wakefulness. This is also the moment in which you begin dreaming.
All of these sleep stages are important to your health, with deep and REM sleep being particularly crucial. Let’s now delve deeper into the five benefits of getting good sleep.
1. Boosting Your Memory and Concentration
One of the immediate results of sleeping well at night is the increase in memory and concentration levels.
Your brain thrives on good-quality sleep to allow you to perform at its best during the day. Areas like memory, concentration, productivity, and most other cognitive functions are all highly reliant on getting the best sleep that you possibly can.
So, if you think that pushing yourself to work or study until late at night will mean that your performance will improve, then you should think again. What you need to do, in fact, is to close those books and shut down your laptop, and head to bed instead. The following morning you’ll feel so rested and ready to take on any challenge that life throws at you.
And because good sleep also enables you to solidify memories and make sense of the information collected during the day, you’ll be able to perform so much better during that important exam or work presentation.
2. Improving Your Immune System
We mentioned earlier that good sleep has brilliant effects on both your brain and your body. One of the most invaluable advantages that sleeping well brings to your body is the boost in your immune response that you will experience in the long run.
Sleep improves your immune system because while we sleep our bodies produce a specific type of protein, called cytokines. Cytokines are essential to help build a robust immune response, which in turn will allow you to fight against potential threats to your health.
What does this mean, in practice? That if you get consistent, good sleep, you will be much less likely to develop viral illnesses even when you’re exposed to them.
This is always a great reason to try and get the best sleep that you can, but it’s even more important during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
3. Helping You to Banish Stress and Anxiety
Another excellent advantage of sleeping well is the ability to better manage stress and anxiety levels. If you find yourself panicking and stressing a lot during the day, and if you are looking for ways to reduce those unpleasant feelings, then you should get some rest.
This cognitive benefit happens as a result of a physical function. During sleep, your body produces growth hormones, which are essential to help with cell repair and renewal. These hormones also encourage your body to fight stress and anxiety, which is why getting a good night’s sleep usually will make you feel more positive and content in the morning.
Try to establish and follow a regular sleep routine, and create a sleeping environment that’s free from distractions and disruptions. If you still have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep, it’s a good idea to give these vitamins for sleeping a go.
4. Allowing You to Maintain a Healthy Weight
Can good sleep assist you with maintaining a balanced, healthy weight? Indeed. This is because sleep helps regulate your metabolism, which in turn allows your body to process nutrients in a healthy way.
But the link between sleeping well and weighing less doesn’t end here. Studies have found that sleep-deprived people tend to eat and snack more throughout the day. This is due to a disruption in the hormones that regulate your appetite, and ultimately mean that you end up eating more unhealthy and calorie-rich foods when you wouldn’t really need to.
Next time you feel exhausted and sleep-deprived, try to whip up a light snack consisting of fruits, nuts, and lean protein, and head to bed nice and early.
5. Stimulating Your Creativity and Imagination
Getting the right amount and type of sleep is also fundamental to spark creative processes in your brain. On those days when you didn’t get enough sleep, you no doubt feel sluggish, demotivated, and of course knackered. On the other hand, if you feel physically and mentally sharp and well-rested, chances are that you will be more likely to feel like engaging in something imaginative and creative.
Whether it’s a work-related project or something that you’ve wanted to do for a while in your spare time, you can tackle it with much more determination and conviction if you feel refreshed and energized.
Another way in which sleeping well is instrumental to creativity and imagination is dreams. If you’re one of those people who remember their dreams most of the time, why don’t you get yourself a notebook and keep a dream journal?
Dream journaling is an incredibly powerful activity in many aspects. It helps strengthen your memory, improve your analytical skills, and come up with innovative ways to solve real-life problems.
For best results, you should start jotting down whatever you recall of your dreams first thing in the morning. Keep a notebook and a pen by your bed, or use the “Notes” feature on your phone. And don’t be discouraged if you don’t seem to remember your dreams often: dream journaling on a regular basis will help you memorize more and more dreams in the long term.
The Importance of Feeling Well-Rested and Ready for the Day
Are you convinced now of just how vital it is to feel well-rested after a good night’s sleep? From improved cognitive abilities to a stronger immune system, you really want to make good sleep a priority in your life.
It’s never too late to start getting the best sleep you’ve ever had: just follow our tips above and you’ll start seeing great results soon.
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