Why sleeping might be the best thing you can do for your health.
It’s a funny world we live in. We often take pride in “being busy”, not even productive, just busy. You get a gold star for staying at the office late. It’s like a badge of honour to be constantly tired because if you’re not tired you’re not working hard enough right. Shouldn’t you be hustling right now?
Sleep is often the sacrificial lamb when it comes to achieving more from our days. You can always just get up an hour earlier right? Well here are 5 amazing things that happen while you sleep that might convince you to keep that lie in.
- Your brain processes all the information from the day. It sorts it and files it and very importantly, all your long term memories are formed during sleep.
- Your hormones change. In particular the human growth hormone. This is responsible for all the regeneration and repair that needs to happen in our bodies. Thinking of hitting the gym? Better include some solid sleep in that routine.
- Your sympathetic nervous system gets a chance to chill out. This is the part of your body that controls your fight or flight response. Sleep allows it to recover from the stressors of your day to day life. Not enough sleep means you are living in a constant state of stress and possibly raising your risk of disease as well as reducing your capacity to function and make good decisions over time.
- Cortisol Levels drop. This is your stress hormone. It lowers in the first few hours of sleep but then peaks up again just before waking. This peak means you feel perky for your day as well as stimulating your appetite after all that repair your body just did.
- The cytokine army. During sleep your immune system releases a flood of cytokines which fight off inflammation. Without good sleep your immune system is essentially running at half power leaving you susceptible to injury and disease. We know that athletes who achieve less than 8hrs sleep are up to three times more likely to suffer an injury than their well rested counterparts.
So how do we get better sleep? There are a few things you can try that might lead to some more quality z’s. We call it, having good sleep hygiene and it’s not as tricky as it seems. First things first, make sure your bedroom is dark. If that means getting some solid, blackout curtains so be it. Make sure you turn your screens off at least 30mins before bed. The blue light from your screens disrupt your ability to get into that really restful deep sleep that we so sorely need. Lastly, try and stick to a routine. Whether that’s going to bed early or going to bed late, just having a routine is going to improve your sleep quality no end.
Sweet dreams amigos!