The 6 Best Benefits of Sleep – Why We Need to Sleep at Night   

We’ve all pulled all-nighters, whether it’s studying for a test, preparing for a presentation, practicing for a musical performance, etc. It is unavoidable that we push ourselves to the very last minute. However, the benefits of sleep might outweigh the need to prepare.

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Find out what the benefits of sleep are, why it is important, and the risks of not sleeping in this guide! Plus, learn some simple tips that can help you get the best sleep of your life tonight!

What is Sleep 

Sleep is not just a waste of time or an excuse to rest. It is a complex process that involves physical and mental changes to the body. We can spend up to a third of our lives sleeping. It is an important time in which the body attempts to regulate the system and balance itself. Different parts of sleep have different aspects and processes associated with them.

Stages of Sleep

Stage 1 is the lightest sleep, and it is where the breathing and heart rate slows. This is also when you are most likely to have muscle spasms or jerky movement. The next is stage 2, light sleep. This is where body temperature starts to drop. In stage three, aka deep sleep, your brain waves slow, and the body undergoes repair and growth. Finally, there is stage 4, REM sleep. In this stage, the heart rate and blood pressure increase. You dream in this stage, learn, and process information about your day as well. REM stands for rapid eye movement, and just like the name suggests, your eyes do move behind your eyelids. It is when you are most still but experience the most dreams and activity in the brain.

Benefits of Sleep

Here are the top benefits of sleep you’re going to want to know! Sleep is crucial for the brain, mind, and body, and a good night’s rest is needed for wellbeing to flourish.

1. Boosts Brain Health

Sleep is needed to keep the brain healthy. A fifth of the body’s circulatory blood is directed towards the brain as you start to fall asleep. This helps nurture and keep the brain healthy. Good sleep also helps reduce inflammation in the body, including inflammation in the brain. This is important in preventing health conditions like heart disease, ulcers, and dementia.

2. Improves Memory

Sleep is important for memory consolidation. This is the process in which experiences and thoughts are stored from short-term memory to long-term memory. This process occurs in the hippocampus in the brain. Due to neuroplasticity, brain cells also known as neurons connect and make pathways that cause us to remember. A major factor is sleep. In the deepest stages of sleep, there is more activity in the regions of the brain needed to store memories.

3. Increases Immune System

Sleep and immune health are closely linked. Our sleep cycle needs to be regular and balanced for our immune response to work appropriately. Consistent sleep has been linked to a strong immune system with the ability to protect and defend you from bacteria and viral infections. In fact, researchers found that during sleep, certain immune system functions activate. This may be because the heart rate and breathing tend to slow during sleep, which allows for more energy to be placed into immune system functions. Melatonin, the sleep hormone, may also help reduce inflammation and stress.

4. Repairs Tissues

During sleep, the body repairs damage from UV rays, stress, inflammation, and other hazardous things you have been exposed to during the day. Cells in the body create proteins while you sleep that help repair your body and become the building blocks of your cells. This repair is important for our overall wellbeing.

5. Regulates Body

When you sleep, your blood sugar is regulated. This can help you maintain a healthy weight and reach your fitness goals. If you want to build muscle or be more flexible, you’re going to want to sleep. Sleep also keeps the balance of ghrelin and leptin, hormones that control hunger. Hormones are also released to keep the heart and blood vessels healthy when you sleep.

6. Improves Thinking

People who sleep well can solve problems better, concentrate more, and have better accuracy. This is due to the restorative activities that happen in the mind and body when you sleep. Sleep can also help you feel more energized and alert, which contributes to good performance as well.

Tips for Falling Asleep and Staying Asleep

Here are some extra tips that can help you get the best sleep of your life tonight!

  • Start a nighttime routine – a nighttime routine can be a great way to prepare the mind and body for sleep. Get an easy routine here for free!
  • Breathing exercises – breathing deeply tends to relax the mind, lowering blood pressure, slowing heart rate, and reducing racing thoughts. Try some breathing exercises to prepare yourself for deep sleep.
  • Drink sleepy time tea – some components in sleepy time tea, such as chamomile, act as a sleep inducer due to chemicals that bind to certain receptors in the brain.
  • Cool the temp –  a cooler temperature is associated with a deeper and more restful sleep! Turn down the temperature and grab a blanket.
  • Scents – some scents, like lavender, are proven to have a calming effect on the mind, which in turn can help you rest. Light a candle or try some aromatherapy techniques tonight.
  • Regulate your circadian rhythm – aka adjust your 24-hour internal clock. Not only with this help you feel more awake during the day, but it will also help you sleep better at night. Use this hack to regulate your internal clock now!

The Takeaway

Sleep is vital to health and wellness. Not only does the body undergo important processes, it can help the mind learn and remember information better. This is why it is important to sleep instead of staying up late to cram for a test or prepare for a presentation.

Remember that health starts from within, so eat well, exercise 3 to 5 times a week, and take care of your mental health. Try to take care of gut health too since our microbiota affects metabolism, the muscles, the immune system, digestion, skin health, and more! Get all the resources you need about microbiota health for free here!

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