Is Sleep Really the Magical Cure?
Sleep is an integral part of your life, and its optimal amount allows you to take care of the well-being and proper functioning of many processes in the body. When you are not well-rested, you lack motivation, find it hard to concentrate, and may experience unusual mood swings. However, the length of sleep is not the only factor that matters – its quality is just as important.
It would be best if you went to sleep at a certain hour, in a dark place, away from the noise and all other factors that negatively affect your rest. You should also consider switching off your phone and putting it away for the night. However, if you want to improve the quality of your sleep, start from the most basic aspect – your bed. The place where you fall asleep is worth taking care of, and a mattress can make or break your nightly rest. You can check out Ted and Stacey’s Mattress Guides to find the mattress that will provide you comfort the whole night.
Sleep has a widespread impact on our health, both on the physiological and cognitive level. Even though the modern world promotes a fast-paced lifestyle, it’s important to slow down and get the right amount of rest. In this article, we’ll show you how sleep impacts your organism. Here’s everything you need to know:
Sleep not only allows you to regenerate but is also your ally in weight loss. People who suffer from insufficient sleep, usually have higher levels of ghrelin – a hormone responsible for feeling hungry. This is why people not sleeping enough tend to eat snacks during the day.
One of the negative symptoms of sleep deprivation may be weight gain. Lack of sleep leads to a hormonal imbalance, which increases the appetite for high-calorie foods. When you don’t get enough sleep, you may also be prone to eating larger portions and choose unhealthy food when shopping. Therefore, chronic sleep deprivation can cause obesity.
Even if you exercise regularly, not getting enough sleep may destroy all your efforts. On the hormonal level, sleep deprivation deregulates the whole process of appetite management. Not only it increases the amount of ghrelin but also decreases levels of leptin, an appetite suppressant.
Improving Brain Performance
Sleep plays an extremely important role in supporting learning and memory. Without enough rest, you won’t be able to operate at your top speed, and you will have trouble focusing and remembering new information.
Sleep disruption can lead to structural changes in the brain that are associated with long-term memory. Poor sleep quality and its deficiency are common causes of memory problems. Simply put, people who sleep longer – remember more. The lack of sleep can cause distraction and lower emotional intelligence.
The time when we sleep is the moment when the brain repeatedly recreates the neural paths defined as a result of learning new things. At the same time, new synapses are produced in the brain, and old or unnecessary ones are removed. This way, the brain prepares itself for more work in the memory department.
Keeping the Immune System Ready
The right amount of sleep works wonders for the defensive mechanisms of your body, while sleep deprivation impairs immune functions. With little sleep, our immune system does not work fast enough, which can result in more persistent infections. If you get cold frequently, remember to improve the length and quality of your sleep. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep will make a great difference.
Lack of sleep causes an increase in cortisol, i.e., the stress hormone. Cortisol prevents us from functioning correctly. Having constantly “elevated” levels of stress destroys the immune system’s responses when we really need a defense against diseases.
Long-term lack of sleep, or even one night of insomnia, can strain the body’s natural defenses against microorganisms. It has been proven that people who sleep only a short time catch a cold more often than those who sleep for eight hours or more. Sufficient amount of sleep (without breaks and waking up at night) can contribute to increased resistance to diseases, which is particularly essential during the influenza season.
Sleep Deprivation Can Cause Depression
The amount of sleep also affects your mental health. People who have trouble falling asleep, more often suffer from depression. Their quality of life decreases significantly more further than it does with any other ailment.
Mental health issues, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders. People suffering from depression often complain about sleeping dysfunctions like insomnia or intermittent sleep.
It is worth noticing that sleep deprivation changes the way neurotransmitters function in the brain, leading to mental disorders. Often the treatment of those disorders involves the use of an antidepressant drug that, in addition to treating depression, restores normal sleep patterns.
Modern societies in many countries live in a culture that promotes working late or getting up at inhuman times to squeeze the day to the last drop. We often feel guilty that by going to bed too early, we are not taking advantage of the given opportunities, or that we are neglecting our careers.
Meanwhile, by adding an hour to our sleep and taking care of our sleeping environment, we can make the remaining 16 hours of the day a productive time. When we allow ourselves to rest, the day becomes more effective, our relationships with people are deeper, and the time of increased concentration is getting significantly prolonged. Try to establish a healthy sleeping routine and change your life for the better!