Ever go to bed wondering about a problem and then woke up with the answer? Sleep actually helps consolidate memory and new skills, and it can help clear out the “junk” processes that occur during the day. In fact, a correlation has been suggested between lack of sleep and development of dementia, whereas adequate rest can not only help with improving cognition, it can also help spur creativity. Whether studying for a test, writing new music or practicing your golf swing, you’ll likely perform better after a good night’s sleep.
Speaking of your golf swing, sleep can also help improve athletic performance. Studies suggest that participants in sports see both speed and stamina are improved following an increase in sleep duration. These athletes also saw improved ability to focus and learn plays due to less daytime fatigue.
Got your diet and exercise in line but still aren’t seeing the results you want? Lack of sleep may be a culprit. One studied showed that dieters who had adequate sleep lost more fat than those who were sleep deprived, who tended to lose more muscle mass. Sleep deprivation also tends to trigger hunger, which can in turn increase caloric intake. The bottom line is sleep more, lose more fat and consume fewer calories.
Think those issues are bad enough? Unfortunately, there’s more. Lack of sleep is a known trigger for inflammation, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease such as heart attack and stroke, not to mention diabetes, arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease among others. Even more concerning, it can lead to premature aging :0
So, what can you do to help improve your sleep? Chances are, if you’ve been dragging through the day, you’re looking for caffeine. Caffeine is fine, just remember to avoid it, alcohol and nicotine for at least 4 hours prior to bedtime. Screen time should also be limited before bed. Blue light can disrupt your natural sleep/wake cycle and negatively affect your quality of sleep. Other culprits for sleep disturbance can include a room that’s too noisy, too hot (cooler rooms tend to promote sleep), or too bright. Lastly, try for consistency (both with bedtime and duration) when your rest. Adapting to a routine can help establish better sleep quality.
Whether becoming a new parent, working at a stressful job, or simply being born an insomniac, sometimes getting adequate sleep can definitely be a challenge. Still, by making time for rest, you can begin to see significant improvements in your health. Good luck with your good night’s sleep, and we hope you have sweet dreams!