Why Sleep is important?
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:
“Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.
The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.”
This means that during the time you are asleep your body is repairing any damage which has happened during this time, or just generally maintaining or improving it. For example if you have completed a gym session during the day you have caused micro tears within your muscles from the repeated load you’ve put through them. So while you are asleep your body will be working on repairing these muscles, it is during this time that your muscles will develop and become stronger, leaner and bigger. But don’t worry you won’t wake up with massive muscles. Large muscles only come from training and eating a certain way.
Along with recovery, sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of your body’s hormones (Yes guys you have hormones to!). The hormones that your body is maintaining and keeping balance of while you’re asleep is your Hunger hormone (Ghrelin) and your full hormone (Leptin). If you are deprived of sleep your Ghrelin hormone increases, meaning you eat more and your Leptin hormone decreases therefore you won’t feel full.
Good quality sleep not only leads to better muscles. It leads to better brain function, allowing it process the day’s events and prepare for the next day’s actions. It is forming new pathways in order for you to learn and remember information from previous day.
Studies have been carried out and have shown that a good night’s sleep leads to better learning. Not only in the classroom, but in other areas as well. Such as perfecting your golf swing, learning a musical instrument. Sleep allows your brain to reset, by doing this it helps to enhance your learning and problem-solving skills.
It will also help you pay attention, make decisions and be more creative!
Ongoing sleep deficiency:
- Increase in weight gain
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Regular poor performances
How to improve your sleep.
In general, getting a good night’s sleep is about routine. Try and follow these points to lead to a better night’s sleep:
- Try to not use any technology for around an hour prior to going to sleep.
- Do something which will create a sense of ‘flow’ (this is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus). Activities that can cause ‘flow’ are; reading, washing up, cleaning, ironing etc. Try doing this an hour or so prior to sleep which will help you get ready for bed.
- Start a really good book you enjoy reading and leave it by your bed so if you want to go and read it, it’s is easily accessible, after a few pages you will be falling asleep.
- Try blackout blinds in your room or make it as dark as you can (Even try an eye mask). Along with this make sure that there are no standby lights on in your room.
- Avoid coffee or caffeine for around 6 hours prior to sleep. The reason for this is because caffeine has a ‘half-life’ of up to 6 hours which means that it will keep you energized for around that time.
- Try and get into a routine of ‘going’ to bed at a certain time. This will help to establish a good body clock.
- Don’t lie in bed awake when you can’t sleep, go downstairs and do something which will cause a state of ‘flow’. By lying in bed awake your body will start to associate bed with being awake which won’t help.
Try and do some of these points to help with your sleep. I cannot emphasize how important sleep is! It helps with weight control, body recovery, and allows the body to reset.
Flow meaning: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)
How to improve your sleep video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so0wDpRZtj0