“If you sleep better, you can certainly live better. It’s pretty clear.” – Raymonde Jean, director of sleep medicine.
We all know that a good night’s sleep leaves you feeling fresher and happier in the morning, but its importance goes beyond making you feel good. The benefits of a good night’s sleep don’t just stop at the bags under your eyes diminishing.
Growing research confirms that a good seven or eight hours of sleep each night can help prevent depression, relieve stress, repair your body and even make you live longer.
When your body is sleep deprived its functions go into panic mode and are put on high alert – this causes high blood pressure and the production of stress hormones. Therefore a good night’s sleep can relieve stress by allowing the body’s stress hormone levels to remain neutral, keeping you calm, cool and collected throughout the day.
Help Keep Away Depression
Although the relationship between sleep and depression is complex, depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause or contribute to depressive disorders. It is known that sleep impacts many of the chemicals in your body, including serotonin. People with serotonin deficiencies are more likely to suffer from depression, therefore you can help to prevent depression by making sure you are getting the right amount of sleep: between 7 and 8 hours each night.
Repair and Restore
Sleep not only is a time to unwind from our day, but is also a time where our body is hard at work mending any damage caused by harmful exposures, such as UV rays or stress. Whilst we sleep our cells are busy producing protein molecules which form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair damage. It also triggers the release of hormones that encourage tissue growth helping to recover from injuries such as cuts and sore muscles.
Your mind is surprisingly busy too whilst you sleep. The more REM sleep we have, the more it strengthens memories and the easier it is to retain things that we have learnt the day before, known as consolidation.
Live a Little Longer
It has been found by Harvard Medical School that people who get less than 5 hours of sleep are 15% more likely to die at any age, from anything. One of the reasons for this is benefit sleep provides, of fighting off illnesses through restoration, which would have caused an earlier death.
If you don’t think you’re getting the best night’s sleep, then this is the month to change. September, otherwise known as Sleeptember, is an initiative run by The Sleep Council, providing a month full of reminders on the positive health benefits of a good night’s sleep.
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