We’re constantly told that sleep is essential, but how much do you really know about the benefits of good sleep? Sleep is no doubt one of the most important aspects of our lives. It’s when we get to recharge and take care of our bodies and minds so that we can be productive during the day. But did you know that good sleep benefits your body in more ways than just resting?
This blog post will talk about six physical benefits of getting a good night’s sleep.
1. Enhances Physical Performance
Good sleep benefits physical performance by allowing the body to build muscle, heal itself, and recover from injury. The benefits of good sleep for athletes are similar to that of professional sports teams resting their players during a game to avoid further injuries or to reduce fatigue that affects gameplay. Maintaining a regular sleep pattern of at least seven or eight hours per night benefits the body by allowing it to build energy and restore itself.
The benefits of sleep and rest are not limited to healing injuries or fatigue but also include muscle recovery after a strenuous workout session. Athletes often train extensively and use various exercises and equipment during training sessions that can cause muscle pains. Without proper training support and good sleep, these muscles can become sore or develop microtears in the muscle tissue. Better sleep enhances overall performance.
2. Improves Immune Function
Poor sleep is often associated with a weakened immune system. Sleep deprivation can lead to a compromised ability of the body’s white blood cells, lymphocytes, and phagocytes to function properly. People who suffer from poor sleep are more likely to get illnesses than those who get enough rest each night. When you add the psychological benefits of good sleep, like decreasing depressive symptoms and stress, sleep benefits the immune system.
By relaxing your body and mind, sleep benefits your immune system so you can maintain optimal health. During sleep, the body releases hormones that stimulate immunity, including interleukin-12 and gamma interferon. The body also benefits from sleep by repairing cells in the immune system that are damaged when you’re sick or stressed. Get good sleep to keep your immune system strong and healthy.
3. Helps With Weight Control
Sleep-deprived individuals tend to consume more calories on average than they otherwise might. Why is this? Not only are they hungry but poor sleep increases ghrelin levels – a hormone responsible for stimulating hunger. At the same time, it reduces leptin levels – a hormone that suppresses appetite. In other words, sleep deprivation will make you hungry and tired, encouraging overeating and ultimately weight gain.
Just as sleep and muscle recovery are connected, the benefits of good sleep are also vital when it comes to maintaining a healthy body weight. Sleep duration and quality play a significant role in your weight control efforts. Next time you’re tempted to grab a snack after dinner, remember that it’s time for bed, not for food. Practice eating and sleeping early.
4. Helps Maintain a Healthier Heart
Lack of sleep can contribute to the development of type II diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure – conditions that can lead to heart disease. Good night’s sleep is directly correlated with healthy serotonin levels in the body, which assist in maintaining a healthier cardiovascular system through better regulation of clotting factors and platelet aggregation. People who sleep better report higher levels of cardio-respiratory fitness and lower resting heart rates.
The benefits of good sleep to our cardiovascular health are unparalleled. A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people who sleep for less than six hours a night are more likely to develop coronary artery disease — plaque build-up in the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Get your seven to eight hours of sleep every night to maintain a healthier heart.
5. Has Restorative Functions for the Mind
A good night’s sleep is restorative, protective, and enhances cognitive abilities by reducing stress hormones. This reduction leads to a more optimal homeostatic balance for your brain to recover from daily activities. After a long day at the office, school, or home, you’re faced with a whole new world the next day. Good sleep benefits your state of mind by resetting and restoring it so that you can continue being productive.
Stress hormones affect memory when they are elevated for extended periods of time, for example during long exams or meetings. Reducing these hormone levels improves your ability to create and retain new memories. Good sleep also benefits the brain by keeping it primed for learning, allowing you to remember information better after a good night’s rest than when you haven’t slept well or at all.
6. Lowers Your Risk for Serious Health Problems
The benefits of good sleep don’t end at feeling better and having more energy. Countless studies have shown a correlation between poor sleep with serious health problems such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. People who have trouble sleeping are at higher risk for these diseases. Getting enough sleep can lower your chances of getting them so long as you’re also living a healthy lifestyle. That means eating healthfully and exercising regularly.
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Getting quality sleep benefits your wellbeing by improving your mood and state of mind, reducing stress levels, enhancing muscle recovery, ensuring better focus, higher metabolism, and more. With the benefits of good sleep outlined here, it’s not hard to see why it should be a priority in your wellness routine.
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