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Article: The Importance of Sleep


The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is as vital as regular exercise and eating a balanced diet when it comes to maintaining optimal health.

We all know eating healthy and exercising are crucial to improving our well-being, but some may not realize sleep is equally important. Given the state of the world, our hectic schedules, and the countless distractions diverting our attention, getting the rest we need is easier said than done.

Below we break down a few benefits of sleeping well and some tips you can use to create a more effective nighttime/bedtime routine.

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1. Increased Concentration and Productivity

Have you ever had to drag yourself through a workday after a night of poor sleep? You know what it's like to maintain focus or achieve a modicum of efficiency.

Getting a proper amount of sleep has a direct link to improved brain functions, including:

  • concentration
  • productivity
  • cognition

2. Improved Calorie Regulation

Studies have shown that sleep patterns can affect the hormones responsible for our appetites and that those who received fewer hours of rest were more likely to consume more calories than usual or required.

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3. Better Physical Performance

Athletes innately understand the need for adequate sleep to help them maximize performance on the field, court, or ice.

Not only does the body heal during sleep, other benefits include:

  • better performance intensity
  • more energy
  • better coordination
  • faster speed
  • better mental functioning

4. Prevent Risk of Depression

The link between sleep and mental health has been the subject of countless studies, most of which indicate that a lack of sleep is often a symptom of and can contribute to depression.

5. Stronger Immune System

Sleep helps the body repair, regenerate, and recover and can increase the immune system's power to fight infection.

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Now that we're better familiar with how important sleep is for our health, here are some tips to make getting a good night's rest easier.

1. Limit Food and Drink

By shutting down your digestive system, you're communicating to your body it will soon be time for rest. Your heart, stomach, and intestines will all begin to power down, as it were, to create better conditions for sleep.

2. Disengage From All Devices

You've heard this one a million times before, but sleep experts recommend it because it works.

The stimulation of the blue light the screens emit inhibits melatonin production—the hormone for sleep—while the content you're consuming can increase your cortisol—the stress hormone—levels making it difficult to get to sleep.

3. Introduce a New Bedtime Ritual

Now it's time to begin your bedtime rituals: brushing your teeth, washing your face, and getting into bed. If you haven't before, try to read or listen to relaxing music or sleep meditations to help you drift off into a deep, restful slumber.

4. Get Regular

Our circadian systems, the body's internal clock, craves regularity and routine, which your brain recognizes. It can follow patterns and realize when you should be awake and when you should be asleep.

That predictability, across all aspects of life, including eating and exercising, can also contribute to improved sleep.

5. Create Ideal Sleep Conditions

In addition to comfy bedding and linens, you need to create an environment that will induce sleep more readily. Setting the perfect temperature, limiting light sources, and eliminating non-ambient sounds and noises can contribute to better rest.

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