Category: Health Yourself Written by Sarah Kaminski Views: 1648
You don't have to be a doctor or sleep expert to recognize the positive effects of long and quality sleep on your well-being. If you compare your mood, alertness, and emotions after a bad night's sleep with those after a long and calm night, you'll notice differences in your behavior.
Since sleeping is one of the basic needs, like food and water, it plays a major role in everything we do. If there's a lack of sleep, we are nervous and tend to under-perform in everyday activities. Getting enough sleep has a healing power on our mind and body, and here's why.
Maintained hormonal balance
It has been scientifically proven that bad sleeping habits directly influence hormone levels, which is why people who continuously don't get enough sleep put their hormonal balance at risk.
Getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep results in higher levels of cortisol (one of the stress hormones). When cortisol is too high, melatonin (the sleep hormone) is not released in sufficient quantities for a good night's sleep. Logically, when our mind thinks it's in danger, it won't fall asleep. Intensive periods at work or emotional issues may excessively increase cortisol levels, leading to serious sleeping disorders.
Likewise, a lack of sleep causes an imbalance in the distribution of insulin, which may lead to difficulties in importing insulin to cells. Since bad sleep can affect the levels of leptin (the hunger hormone), not getting enough sleep may ultimately contribute to obesity.
The takeaway: Bear in mind that you'll keep your hormones in balance if you treat yourself to proper sleep.
Healthier skin and hair
The skin is our largest organ. Naturally, all the significant changes that we experience both physically and mentally are visible on our skin. From a medical point of view, cortisol and adrenaline, i.e., the stress hormones, influence the texture of skin and hair.
If you don't sleep well for a long time, your skin will become more dry – especially facial skin because this is where skin issues caused by a lack of sleep are most obvious. You'll get more wrinkles and your eyes might become puffier. Skin rashes are common consequences of irregular sleep or insomnia, as well.
The takeaway: If you want to keep your skin healthy and your face smooth, don't take away from your regular 8 hours of sleep a night. You'll be happier with your appearance and more confident. In this case, getting enough sleep will ensure physical and mental comfort.
Enhanced work performance
In a nutshell, a lack of sleep reduces work performance, while sleeping 7+ hours per night ensures higher work productivity.
When you sleep only for a few hours a night, you turn the sleep cycle upside down, affecting the natural stages of sleep. One of the most important parts of every sleep cycle is the REM phase. It's the stage of deep sleep, during which our brain processes all the information and stimuli it was exposed to during the day. One group of information – important and recurring data – is stored in long-term memory. As opposed to them, irrelevant information and unassociated fractions of data are treated as junk and deleted from our memory.
While this is happening in the brain, the body is completely calm and immobilized, resting and revitalizing for the new wake period.
By sleeping less than necessary, you reduce or don't even reach the REM-stage, which inevitably leads to both mental and physical exhaustion.
The takeaway: Go to bed on time to ensure a stable and long sleep that will allow you to go through sleep cycles multiple times. That's how you'll ensure your body and brain will get the rest they need to take on new challenges at work.
Reduced cardiovascular risks
People who heartily skimp on sleep are more likely to end up with serious heart health issues. Higher levels of the stress hormone tandem – cortisol and adrenaline – make the mind think that there's some kind of existential threat around the corner. And this doesn't only affect the duration and quality of sleep, but it also damages the heart.
Under the influence of those two hormones, the heart tends to pump more blood into the cardiovascular system. It's something that happens naturally when we perceive danger. But if this stress-induced intensity lasts for too long, the heart will eventually suffer, leading to strokes, heart attacks, and increased levels of cholesterol in the blood.
The takeaway: People who have a regular sleep rhythm will reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and other stress-related illnesses.
Sleeping is one of the gifts of nature. It's the easiest way to recuperate from tensions at work, uncomfortable emotional experiences, or excessive physical strain. If you ensure proper sleep every night, you'll reduce the stress that your skin and your internal organs are exposed to. Also, you'll fuel your mind and body with sufficient amounts of energy to take on daily challenges. Finally, getting enough sleep will help you reach and retain calmness and sharpness, which are crucial for navigating both professional and personal surroundings.
Sarah Kaminski is a life enjoyer, positivity seeker, and a curiosity enthusiast. She’s been a freelance writer for over a decade and loves researching health and wellness topics.
This article was submitted exclusively to CrystalWind.ca by Sarah Kaminski
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