Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more. Here are some of the benefits:
Your mind is surprisingly busy while you snooze. During sleep you can strengthen memories or “practice” skills learned while you were awake (it’s a process called consolidation).
Too much or too little sleep is associated with a shorter lifespan—although it’s not clear if it’s a cause or effect. (Illnesses may affect sleep patterns too.) In a 2010 study of women ages 50 to 79, more deaths occurred in women who got less than five hours or more than six and a half hours of sleep per night.
When it comes to our health stress and sleep are nearly one and the same—and both can affect cardiovascular health. Sleep can definitely reduce levels of stress, and with that people can have better control of their blood pressure. It is also believed that sleep effects cholesterol levels, which plays a significant role in heart disease.
Sleeping well means more to our overall well-being than simply avoiding irritability. A lack of sleep can contribute to depression. A good night’s sleep can really help a moody person decrease their anxiety. You get more emotional stability with good sleep.
Dieters who were well rested lost more fat—56% of their weight loss—than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle mass. (They shed similar amounts of total weight regardless of sleep). Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain and when you are sleepy, certain hormones go up in your blood, and those same hormones drive appetite. So, if you are trying to lose weight or thinking about going on a diet, you might want to plan an earlier bedtime too.