Why You Really Do Need Sleep
Written by: Brandi Monasco
I love to sleep. And now that I’m pregnant, sleeping is even more important for me. Not because being pregnant makes me constantly tired, but because sleeping has so many benefits for you and your body, pregnant or not!
Many people understand that sleep is important, but some of them still do not fully understand exactly WHY sleep is so important and therefore, many are forgoing sleep.
If you are one of the many people who gets less than 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night, you might feel that you are running slow and feeling groggy. Here are a few reasons why you need no less than 7 hours of sleep each night.
1. Better Mood. You know that feeling you sometimes get when you wake up cranky and not in a good mood? When you do not get enough sleep at night, this happens. This means that you are overtired and obviously did not get enough sleep. People who sleep enough also have fewer problems with depression and anxiety. Sleeping less means that you will more likely have symptoms of depression, anxiety and a lower self-esteem.
2. Better Memory. Your brain doesn’t shut off when you sleep. In fact, it is still pretty busy. Sleep can help strengthen memories and even “practice” skills that you have learned while you were awake. This is a process called consolidation. When you learn something while you are awake, you learn it to a certain point. When you sleep, your brain “practices” what you have learned and this helps you to learn and remember it better.
3. Stronger Immunity. When I become sick with a cold, I like to sleep and there’s actually a reason behind that. Sleeping improves your immunity and helps you to fight off illnesses. Research found that those who sleep less than 7 hours each night were three times more likely to catch the common cold.
4. Healthier Weight. Being healthy not only means getting healthy, but it also means getting more sleep too. When you sleep more, you are able to manage a healthier weight. This is because part of the problem with managing a healthy weight is behavioral. When you are overtired, you are less likely to have the energy, or even feel up to cooking a healthy dinner or doing your daily workout. Sleep also plays a major role in the release of leptin, which is a hormone that makes you feel full. When you don’t get enough sleep, your leptin levels drop, which result in you feeling hungrier and craving high calorie foods.
Not sure how to get more, or even better sleep? Here are a few tips that could help!
1. Create And Stick To A Sleep Schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle. This helps to promote better sleep.
2. Create A Bedtime Ritual. Doing the same things each night before bed alerts your body that it’s time to wind down. You might include a warm bath or a shower, listening to music or reading a book.
3. Pay Attention To What You Eat And Drink. It’s normal to want to have a small snack right before bed, but you need to remember to pay attention to what you put into your body before you wind down for the night. Remember to stay away from anything with caffeine because it can take hours to wear off and be removed from your body, which will disrupt your sleep.
What is your night routine like? What helps you get a good night’s rest? Share with us your thoughts and tips in the comments below!
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Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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