6 Health Benefits To Quality Sleep
Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles.
Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.
"Sleep used to be kind of ignored, like parking our car in a garage and picking it up in the morning," says David Rapoport, MD, director of the NYU Sleep Disorders Program.
Not anymore. Here are some health benefits researchers have discovered about a good night’s sleep.
Your mind is surprisingly busy while you snooze. During sleep, you can strengthen memories or "practice" skills learned while you were awake (it’s a process called consolidation).
"If you are trying to learn something, whether it’s physical or mental, you learn it to a certain point with practice," says Dr Rapoport, who is an associate professor at NYU Langone Medical Center. "But something happens while you sleep that makes you learn it better."
In other words, if you’re trying to learn something new whether Spanish or trying bigger jumps on your new mountain bike, you’ll perform better after sleeping.
Too much or too little sleep is associated with a shorter lifespan although it’s not clear if it’s a cause or effect. (Illnesses may affect sleep patterns too.)
In a 2010 study of women ages 50 to 79, more deaths occurred in women who got less than five hours or more than six and a half hours of sleep per night. Sleep also affects quality of life.
Inflammation is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature ageing. Research indicates that people who get less sleep of six or fewer hours a night have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get more.
People who have sleep apnoea or insomnia can have an improvement in blood pressure and inflammation with treatment of the sleep disorders, Dr Rapoport says.
Get a good night’s sleep before getting out the easel and paintbrushes or the laptop.
In addition to consolidating memories, or making them stronger, your brain appears to reorganize and restructure them, which may result in more creativity as well.
Researchers at Harvard University and Boston College found that people seem to strengthen the emotional components of a memory during sleep, which may help spur the creative process.
Be a winner
If you’re an athlete, one simple way to improve your performance is sleep.
A Stanford University study found that college football players who tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for seven to eight weeks improved their average sprint time and had less daytime fatigue and more stamina.
The results of this study reflect previous findings seen in tennis players and swimmers.
Improve your grades
Children between the ages of 10 and 16 who have sleep-disordered breathing, which includes snoring, sleep apnoea, and other types of interrupted breathing during sleep, are more likely to have problems with attention and learning, according to a 2010 study in the journal Sleep. This could lead to "significant functional impairment at school," the study authors wrote.
In another study, college students who didn’t get enough sleep had worse grades than those who did.
Our conclusion is that as we all know, getting sufficient hours of sleep is crucial to our daily function. Sleep deprivation can increasingly affect our performance over time.
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