Why Sleep Is Important And How To Sleep Well

The importance of good sleep no longer needs to be proven. Whether it is on our mind,  our metabolism, or our physical form, sleep has an essential impact on health. 

We spend almost a third of our life sleeping, a time necessary to recover our physical and psychological needs. So why is sleeping well so crucial for good health? We explain everything to you and give you tips on finding this beneficial sleep!

SLEEPING WELL IS ESSENTIAL FOR YOUR HEALTH

Sleeping properly and in sufficient quantity is essential for the body and the mind. Sleep is also one of the only restorative functions allowing our body to regain its energy.

Sleep helps the body to regenerate

Thanks to sleep, the immune system is regenerated. This rest allows him to build the defenses necessary to fight against external attacks. In other words, it is the fuel the body needs to create the energy and cells needed for its defense. 

In addition, sleep allows the cardiovascular system to rest. Indeed, while we sleep, our heart slows down its rhythm by an average of 15 to 20% to save energy. This relaxation is an opportunity to “repair” our body, including the regeneration of cells in different organs. 

This relaxation is also observed in the muscles that are relaxing. This muscular inactivity helps replenish the stock of energy to ensure good physical condition.

However, our metabolism does not remain inactive while we sleep. It takes advantage of this relaxation time to produce hormones, in particular growth hormones. These are essential in the development of children. They also help to develop the muscles, bones, and cartilage of adults.

Sleeping well helps preserve our brain

When we sleep, our whole body takes advantage of it to recover. The brain, too, derives many benefits from this phase. Indeed, it continues to be solicited day and night, it works permanently. 

When we sleep, all the information and emotions that we have accumulated during the day are classified and organized by the brain. This work helps to consolidate our memory and promote learning.

 When sleep is deeper, the cognitive system takes advantage of it to eliminate the toxins accumulated during the day. In short, a good night’s rest allows your brain to cleanse itself to make room for new activities as soon as you wake up.

Sleep well for beautiful skin

As we have seen, lack of sleep has a significant impact on our body. Getting enough sleep regenerates the cells of the body and therefore of the skin. Indeed, during the night, the cells are cleansed thus eliminating the toxins accumulated during the day. 

The DNA cells are repaired in depth. Poor sleep is enough to disrupt your skin’s recovery cycle. As a result, you get drawn features, dull complexion, dry skin, and accelerated skin aging. Good restorative nights are therefore your best anti-wrinkle!

THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH A LACK OF SLEEP

Sleep being a vital function, the lack of rest can therefore have harmful repercussions on our body and our health. Indeed, when we have had a bad night or haven’t slept enough, we often feel deprived of energy and more susceptible to external attacks

Our morale is not outdone. A bad night often brings irritability, stress, and other mood disorders

In adults, many studies claim that lack of sleep can be one of the causes responsible for various ailments such as being overweight, depression, or hormonal imbalance. 

Worse still, this lack increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or immune deficiencies. Indeed, the body does not recover sufficiently and therefore cannot fight against external threats. 

Links between sleep and type 2 diabetes

Numerous studies now prove the importance of sleep in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes or its worsening. 

Indeed, studies show that reduced sleep causes dysregulation of carbohydrate metabolism, including a decrease in insulin production by up to 30% and also an increase in insulin resistance by up to 50%. This promotes the onset of diabetes and the progression to type 2 diabetes.

Similarly, as mentioned earlier in this article, poor sleep has an impact on our appetite. 

Indeed, the latter has a significant effect on the levels of certain hormones (in particular on the reduction of leptin, responsible for satiety, and the increase of ghrelin, stimulating the appetite). 

Poor sleep will therefore lead to greater food consumption and therefore weight gain, which may ultimately play a role in the onset of type 2 diabetes.  

Studies consider that sleep should ideally be between 6 and 9 hours a day in order to avoid these disturbances of glucose metabolism or appetite disorders. 

 In the opposite case, diabetes in the individual can impact his sleep in a negative way. Indeed, some insomnia can be linked to disorders resulting from diabetes: nocturnal hypoglycemia, nocturnal awakenings caused by changes in glucose levels, muscle pain, etc.

WHAT TIPS FOR SLEEPING WELL?

To sleep well, it is essential to listen to your body and its needs but also to impose a routine on yourself so that your sleep cycle is optimal. 

Determine Your Personal Sleep Needs

We’ve all heard that the ideal night’s sleep is eight hours long. In reality, sleep needs differ from person to person. Six hours of sleep may be enough for you, or you may need nine hours of sleep to feel good. The rule is to listen to your body and understand your needs.

Establish a sleep routine

If your nights of sleep are very irregular and you alternate between sleepless nights and nights of twelve hours of sleep, you could have long-term problems. (This is especially the case right now since our long-standing habits are disrupted.)

If you set up a regular sleep schedule and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, you can start to improve the overall quality of your sleep.

Put your phone away

Using a phone, laptop, or tablet close to bedtime can be problematic for a number of reasons. If you spend time on social media, your anxiety might increase. The same phenomenon will occur if you check your work emails at the end of the evening.

In addition, the light emitted by your device can have a negative effect on your sleep. 

This is because phones and similar electronic devices emit blue light which can reduce the production of melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate sleep and the circadian cycle) in your brain, thereby reducing the quality of your sleep.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol

A cup of coffee or a last glass of wine before bed can interfere with your sleep. You should avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol during the hours before bedtime.

Caffeine is stimulating and can keep you awake much longer than you want. In addition, alcohol can interfere with your circadian cycle and your REM sleep, which is highly restorative.

Instead of having a digestive or an espresso, try a caffeine-free herbal tea, or even better, water.

Avoid staying in bed if you are unable to fall asleep.

You are restless and tossing and turning. You counted the sheep and tried in vain to fall asleep, but nothing helped. Do you recognize yourself in this scenario? This tip might surprise you and seem counter-intuitive, but it works.

Indeed, if you have difficulty falling asleep, it is recommended that you get up and do something else, such as reading. Thus, you will avoid associating your bed with insomnia in the long run, which creates a vicious cycle, and you will be able to temporarily concentrate on something else.

Perhaps you have never thought about the connection between healthy sleep habits and good mental health. 

By creating healthy routines and avoiding potentially anxiety-inducing or stimulating activities and substances, you’ll be on your way to getting the restful night’s sleep you need.

You will limit the negative effects of lack of sleep on your mental health, a goal to which we should all aspire.

Image Credit: Image by Claudio_Scott from Pixabay

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