Why a Good Nights Sleep is so Important
Good Morning, Sleepyhead
There's nothing better than a good night's rest. You wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Your thoughts and intentions are clear, and you might even wake up smiling! Too often, we overwork ourselves to the point where we can become insomniacs and unable to sleep. With demanding work schedules and an endless supply of technology constantly stimulating us, it's increasingly important that we get a good night's rest, every night, to remain in good health.
Why is Sleep So Important?
Sleeping, like exercise and a good diet, is essential to our health. A good night's sleep can help with weight loss, energy, memory, and improved mood. These things are great, but sleeping is much more than these minor improvements. Sleeping an adequate amount each night ensures that your body is getting the rest it needs to function the next day. Sleep promotes physical and mental health as well as longevity of life.
Sleeping well is beneficial to ensure a better day, but what happens if you become sleep deprived? Sleep deprivation is serious, and can cause a series of medical problems such as blood sugar issues, weight gain, and sometimes even death. It is important to sleep for an adequate amount of time each night to help prevent these issues.
How Long Should I Sleep Each Night?
The answer to this question can vary for each person on any given day. Let's say, just for example, that you spent the day inside on the couch reading. Other than your daily workout, you spent the day just lounging around. You might not need as much sleep on this night as you might on a night after running a marathon, working a full day, or spending longs periods of time on your feet.
The amount of sleep required each night also depends on the person. Some people need more sleep than others. For example, women have been found to need more sleep than their male counterparts because of hormones. Another example would be the amount of physical activity that person engages in during the day.
Age is another factor in determining how much sleep a person needs each day or night to ensure physical and mental health. For example, a newborn* needs much more sleep than a person of forty. Again, physical activity can be a determinate of sleep needs within the age category.
Quality sleep is not a luxury,
it is a necessity; just as important to your well-being as clean air, clean
water, good (healthy) food and regular exercise.
Your Sleep Environment
Where you sleep plays an important part in the quality of your sleep.
Your bedroom and, perhaps most centrally, your bed, should be a sanctuary, a place
of rest and renewal. The pleasure of a really comfortable bed is one of the
main reasons we started Plumeria Bay®. There is nothing like a cozy bed fitted with clean
fresh sheets, cushy down pillows (we like lots!) and a fluffy duvet.
Your sleeping environment also includes your sleeping partner. If your partner snores too loudly, or tosses and turns so much that it is keeping you from getting the sleep you need, it may be time to think about sleeping solo. I should also note that snoring may sometimes be a symptom of sleep apnea. This is something that should not be ignored.
We live in the Pacific Northwest, in the foothills of the Cascades, and
keep the window next to our bed open even on the coldest of nights
in the middle of Winter. Our room is cool and yet we stay warm and cozy. I think
the fresh air helps contribute to a good sleep.
What Does Sleep Benefit?
As previously mentioned, sleep can help improve physical and mental health, weight loss, higher energy levels, improved memory, and even longevity of life. However, Sleep can also benefit your body in other ways. During sleep, your body repairs itself from the day before. Consider a cell phone. At night, you plug in your cell phone to charge. This recharging process is the same thing we encounter during sleep.
Other benefits can include; reduced mood swings, reduced stress levels, and improved heart health along with;
- Clear eyes, clear skin and more, can all happen when your "beauty sleep" is complete.
- More (healthy) sleep means less risk of depression, better moods and a better attitude towards life!
- A Clear Mind, long term and short term. Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. Sleep heals and restores the connections between brain cells, helping memory and the ability to focus in your daily life.
- Lose weight: When you're sleep deprived your body produces more of the hormone that stimulate your appetite (grehlin) and less of the hormone that helps you feel full (leptin).
- Physical performance: We produce growth hormone, essential for building and repairing muscle tissue, when we sleep.
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Many reputable studies show that less than 6 hours of sleep can result in a higher incidence of these diseases.
- Lower blood pressure: Studies also show that better sleep is linked to lower blood pressure.
- Decision making: When you are tired, you can make questionable decisions that you would not make in a fully rested state.
Now that you have heard the benefits of sleep, you should have a better understanding of the importance of getting a good night's rest each night. There are ways to improve your sleep such as yoga, exercise, meditation, or even medication if necessary. Just remember that sleep is your time of recharging and repair to your body. Now, who's ready to go count some sheep?
Wishing you the sweetest of dreams and a restful sleep!
If you have problems sleeping, please do take some time to check out this resource from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Also, here's a great in depth "Ted Talk", about sleep and the brain's function by Jeff Iliff.
*Down bedding should never be used with infants