The 7 Secrets of Good Quality Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t only have day to day benefits but can affect your long-term health both mentally and physically. Below are some of the most important well-being benefits of good quality sleep.
1. Reduce stress
Often one of those vicious cycles, high levels of stress can cause poor quality sleep, which in turn can increase stress levels even more. Research has shown that sleep deprivation and general poor quality sleep can increase cortisol levels which are responsible for stress. However, a good long night’s sleep can reduce the level of cortisol being produced and thus lower your stress levels. To help break free from the vicious cycle of stress and poor sleep, try and manage your stress levels before bedtime by creating a calming environment conducive to sleep and avoiding stress-inducing tasks.
2. Improved concentration and productivity
Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences for your concentration ability and productivity levels. Some studies have even found that not enough sleep can cause such a reduction in brain function that it is akin to alcohol intoxication. In contrast, those who are sleeping well, and for long enough each night, demonstrate improved problem-solving ability and a greatly improved memory.
3. Lower risk of disease
Lack of sleep, even short-term, can increase blood pressure and your risk of cardiovascular disease or strokes. In addition, lack of sleep can reduce insulin sensitivity which can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. However, too much sleep can also elicit similar effects, so it is recommended to have between 6 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
4. Mental health
Ever woken up after a bad night’s sleep feeling groggy and grumpy? Poor sleep can not only affect your mood on a day-to-day basis, but also your overall mental health. There is a long-established link between sleep disorders, such as insomnia or sleep apnoea, and mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety.
5. Immune system efficiency
Getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night can greatly boost your immune systems functionality. Though the relationship between our immune systems and our sleep duration is complex, scientists have discovered that our T-cell production (cells that have a variety of different uses in our immune response) is reduced when people become sleep deprived.
6. Weight regulation
From reducing your cravings and appetite to boosting your metabolism, getting a good quality night’s sleep can help you maintain a healthy weight or even help you lose weight. Research has discovered that people who don’t get enough sleep weigh significantly more than those who get a sufficient amount of sleep each night. This is due to a number of interacting factors such as disruption of hormone regulation and reduced motivation to exercise.
7. Improved athletic performance
Although this probably does not seem to apply to the majority of people, the improvement of athletic performance from quality sleep can be felt by anyone who moves in their daily life. Good quality sleep has been found to increase walking speed, increased grip strength, and increased overall body function.
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