Sleep is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Getting the right amount of sleep has many benefits: the heart and brain require rest in the form of sleep, and sleep is also linked to maintaining healthy body weight. It also aids in staving off illnesses such as high blood pressure, stroke and heart failure. The average adult needs between 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep though some may function adequately with 6 and yet others might need up to 9 hours of sleep. The one thing that remains constant is the healthy benefits of getting enough sleep, some of which include the following:
- Lack of sleep can slow down your metabolism so dieticians recommend getting enough sleep to prevent weight gain.
- Sleep deprivation can cause hormonal changes, resulting in changes in appetite.
- Getting enough sleep reduces vulnerability to illnesses. A study showed that those who got less than 7 hours of sleep had higher chances of catching colds.
- During sleep, a process called “consolidation” slowly converts short-term memory to long-term memory. This happens in individuals who get at least 7 hours of sleep, so remember students…pulling an all-nighter does not work!
- The same goes for achieving good grades. A study showed that students who experienced disturbed sleep, whether it was due to snoring or other intrusions, had more problems with attention than those who slept uninterrupted. Hence, those who sleep well have better attention spans and are less hyperactive.
- The link between sleep and attention span is relevant to adults as well as students. Sleep can have an effect on reaction time and decision making – especially important for those who are driving long-distance.
- A good night’s sleep can reduce vulnerability to anxiety and depression. Sleeping less than 6 hours during the week, and making it up on the weekend, is not beneficial. The key is to maintain balance throughout the week.
If you have difficulty falling asleep or sleeping the recommended amount of time then you can try these natural remedies:
- Sleep in a quiet room away from any noise.
- Keep the room temperature on the cool side.
- Some remedies that can help you fall sleep:
- Intake of calcium and magnesium
- The hormone melatonin (also known as the sleep hormone)
- Yoga/meditation or any form of relaxation
- Valerian (A plant that can be delicious in salads but can also be eaten on its own after being boiled)
These are not over-night cures, and are only effective if used consistently over a certain period of time.
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Ballinger, L. (n.d.). 10 benefits of a good night’s sleep. Retrieved from http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/health+advice/10+benefits+of+a+good+nights+sleep,17681
Griffin, R. M., (n.d.). 9 surprising reasons to get more sleep. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/9-reasons-to-sleep-more
Loria, K. (2014, December 22). 23 incredible benefits of getting more sleep. Business Insider.Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/why-sleep-is-important-2014-12