10 Surprising Health Benefits of a Good Sleep

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15 min read

The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep” – E. Joseph Cossman

We are all aware of the benefits of sleep and tend to spend a major chunk of our time trying to get adequate rest. Sleep is a natural state of mind and body marked by reduced consciousness, alertness, movement, and interaction with our body and environment. 

The way we feel about our day in the mornings depends a lot on the amount and quality of sleep we get at night. 

When we are sleeping, our brain does not only get a break from being overstimulated, but it also prepares to take on the challenges that we may face by developing new neural networks and condensing learning and memory. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg though, let’s look at some surprising physical and psychological benefits that come with a good night’s sleep! 

  1. Helps with weight management by regulating ghrelin and leptin. These hormones directly impact our appetite! So, add in good sleep in your diet plan today! 
  2. Boosts athletic performance by supporting the body while it repairs itself during sleep and increasing the level of alertness that athletes need. 
  3. May reduce the risk of developing depression by regulating the healthy amount of serotonin in the body. A lack of serotonin is a common pattern in people who experience depression and healthy serotonin management can make us more resilient towards depression.  
  4. Improves memory and learning by the process of consolidation. When we sleep, our brain actively consolidates the new information we learn during the day which enhances memory and helps us build new skills. 
  5. May contribute to longevity by allowing the body and mind to repair and recover from daily stress and by reducing inflammation. Inflammation puts us at a greater risk of developing heart conditions, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis. Getting a good night’s sleep can help curb this inflammation. 
  6. Induces a spur of creativity by categorizing, recognizing, and reorganizing our learned skills and memories that can in turn boost creativity. 
  7. Contributes positively to social life by helping us stay alert in conversations, interpret social cues better, improve our motivation to engage in social activities, and by retaining our focus on the conversations. 
  8. Help reduce stress by restoring and calming our mind and body, sharpen our problem-solving skills, concentration, and judgment. A good sleep cycle also keeps a check on cortisol which is widely implicated in stress. 
  9. May help prevent cancer by regulating the production and uptake of melatonin. Recent research has found evidence that melatonin helps in protecting us against cancer. And by maintaining a balanced sleep schedule, melatonin can be regulated well.  
  10. Can keep us safe by helping us stay alert and respond to a crisis with better judgment and insight, thus reducing the possibility of being harmed in an accident. A lack of good sleep has been implicated in various road accidents. 

Looking at the various physical and psychological benefits of sleep, it can be safely concluded that having a healthy sleep routine can greatly affect our quality of life! 

Although a lack of sleep has been a cause of concern for many years, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the sleep quality and duration of people. This has added to the stress and worries that the coronavirus restrictions imposed on people. 

Physicians are calling this ‘coronasomnia’ which is characterized by a significant decrease in productivity, resilience, increased risk of depression, and health-related concerns. This has added to the already high number of people who experience sleep disturbances. 

While the pandemic-related restrictions may take time to be lifted, we can all make small changes in our lifestyle to stabilize our sleep patterns and boost both our physical and mental health. One of the best ways to improve the duration, continuity, and quality of sleep is to work on sleep hygiene! 

Sleep hygiene refers to consistent and beneficial steps that have a positive impact on sleep and are focused on making the body and the environment more sleep-friendly! 

Wysa offers dedicated self-help tools to build a healthy and consistent sleep routine by allowing us to customize our sleep hygiene habits and fall asleep quicker with its calming sleep stories

The sleep stories can help relax the mind, reduce the time we spent ruminating over stressful events, and facilitate quick and lasting sleep. 

FAQs

Why is getting enough sleep important?

Getting enough sleep has many benefits for both physical and mental well-being. Good sleep can help us stay energized, healthy, motivated, less stressed and also contributes to improving our social lives. 

Is it healthy to sleep all day?

On average, we require 7-9 hours of sleep every day. This remains consistent whether we are morning larks or night owls. Sleeping all day is a sign of irregular sleep and can have various underlying symptoms. This should be addressed with a sleep specialist. 

Does oversleeping make you tired?

Yes, while oversleeping occasionally may result in temporary disorientation and confusion, persistent oversleeping can have greater ramifications on the body’s circadian rhythms and increase the risk of insomnia, depression, and other health-related symptoms. 

Why am I still tired after sleeping?

Good sleep consists of sleep duration, sleep continuity, and sleep timing. Being tired even after getting enough sleep is an indicator of a disturbance in sleep quality or sleep timing. Working on a healthy sleep routine can help manage this better. 

What is the longest has anyone slept?

While it’s tough to follow the full sleep duration, there are two people who have exhibited unusually long sleep duration. Wyatt Shaw (2017) slept for 11 days straight and before this, a UK hypnotist Peter Powers put himself under hypnotic sleep for 8 days straight. 

How can I fall asleep in 10 seconds?

Time taken to fall asleep is a subjective concept that depends on a lot of factors like health conditions, sleep routine, mental health, etc,. There are ways like visualization techniques and breathing methods, which if done consistently, can help in falling asleep faster overtime.

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