Sleep. We spend 1/3 of our lives doing this but we often do not prioritise it, only squeezing it into the remaining hours of a packed day. Experts have long recommended 7 hours of sleep a night as the optimum amount of sleep an adult needs — but how often have we made do with a mere 5 hours of shut-eye each work day, promising ourselves that we would catch up on sleep on the weekend by sleeping in and repaying our increasingly insurmountable sleep debts?
Sleeping well is something we often overlook as well. Going to bed early each night may be well and good but if you suffer from broken sleep, insomnia or if you wake up not feeling rested at all, you really should take a good, hard look at your quality of sleep. Sleeping in a calm and relaxing bedroom with minimal stimulation is one of the most fundamental ways to ensure you get a good night’s rest. Drinking some non-caffeinated tea before you tuck yourself into bed is also a great way to help you unwind and prep yourself to sleep. We really recommend sipping on any one of our Cheryl W non-caffeinated teas to help you relax before bed.
So ladies, sleep is NOT for the weak. Not sleeping does make you weak though, in more ways than one. If you remain unconvinced, here are 5 compelling benefits you stand to reap from ensuring you give your body the sleep and rest it needs each night.
1) Weight control
Getting sufficient and good quality sleep is key to your weight loss journey. There are many factors how sleep affects your weight: being sleep deprived prompts your body to crave junk food for the sugar boost, you are too tired to head to the gym, your metabolism is sluggish, YOU are sluggish… And we could go on and on. What you need to know is that not getting enough good sleep can cause you to pile on the pounds, because being chronically sleep-deprived lends itself to an intrinsically unhealthy lifestyle; you eat more junk and more food, and you exercise less. Conversely, sleeping well is the foundation for a healthy lifestyle that is crucial to losing weight. You are more able to regulate your cravings and make informed substitutions for unhealthy snacks. Your metabolism is running well so you don’t crave for quick bursts of energy to keep you going.
2) Improves your memory
You know how they always caution against pulling that all-nighter to cram for the test tomorrow? Turns out there may have been some truth to that — people who sleep at least 7 hours each night were found to perform better in memory tests. It is actually common-sense: sleeping acts as a reset button for our super-busy brains. So sleeping helps repair neuron pathways and build new connections in the brain so that it is ready to take on a brand new day. Sleep also helps solidify memories, as existing neuron connections in the brain are strengthened. And you know how people often say that sleep is the balm to soothe the mind? It is true; sleep actually detoxifies the brain after the whole day of accumulated information and stimulation.
3) Improves your mood
People who sleep well tend to be more even tempered throughout the day and less prone to extreme mood swings. Other than being generally less grumpy from feeling well rested, sleep actually helps regulate mood because it increases your ability to self-regulate negative emotions and hostile behaviour. This is because sleep deprivation causes an increase in activity in the amygdala (the part of the brain that processes negative emotions like anger and rage). On top of that, sleep deprivation also causes a decrease in the neuron connections between the amygdala and the other part of the brain that regulates the amygdala. So if you think that your anger feels amplified when you don’t sleep enough, you are exactly right as this is what happens on the biological level.
4) Improves your physical appearance
After pulling one too many late nights, you know you are going to hear this: “oh my, you look so tired!” — and you know “tired” is just a much kinder word for “terrible” and “haggard”. Dark under-eye circles, swollen and puffy eyes, pimples, dull and lifeless skin, and an oily scalp are all par for the course when you don’t prioritise your beauty sleep. This is because your body does its important repair work while you sleep, so people who sleep enough are really allowing their bodies ample opportunity to regenerate and rebalance hormones that cause excessive oiliness on the face and scalp. Not too convinced yet? You may be pleased to know that your body also produces collagen during sleep, which is the compound in your skin that keeps it firm. The body also boosts blood circulation as you sleep, which means that dark under-eye circles are less obvious and your skin is more radiant.
5) Boosts immunity
In simple terms, not getting enough sleep suppresses the immune system. This makes you more susceptible to falling sick from common illnesses more frequently. The reason for this is that your immune system produces antibodies and cytokines during sleep, both of which are required by your body when it fights illnesses off. Cells are also repaired during sleep, so not sleeping enough results in your body being unable to complete its regeneration work on cells including essential cells in immunity function. Sleeping well also boosts nutrient absorption, which in turn strengthens your body’s natural immunity.
Sleep is truly nature’s repair balm, and we should prioritise it as part of the push to live a larger wellness lifestyle. For those who may have trouble getting good sleep, Cheryl W’s soothing massage treatments will be sure to aid you in relaxing and prepping your body to sleep. Come on over and speak with us today!