Sleep, Glorious Sleep!

The importance of sleep is often undervalued. Read on to discover why sleep is so important, as well as some tips on improving sleep quality.

sleep, sleeping

The impact of sleep deprivation

  •    It can lead to serious health issues – Sleep deprivation can be the root cause of many health problems, putting people at risk of diabetes, a stroke, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, heart attacks, and heart disease. It is believed that nine in ten people that suffer from insomnia also have another type of health condition.
  •    It affects your mind – A lack of sleep impacts your ability to learn and think as effectively as you should be able to. It impairs problem-solving, reasoning, concentration, alertness, and attention. Moreover, if you do not get the sleep you need, you will not be able to remember what you experienced and learned during the day.
  •    It causes accidents – There are many studies that prove a lack of sleep or poor quality sleep is to blame for road traffic accidents and injuries in the workplace.
  •    It kills sex drive – Both women and men that do not get enough sleep have less interest in sex and report low libidos. The reason for this is usually because of increased tension, sleepiness, and depleted energy.
  •    It makes you forgetful – You will struggle to keep your memory sharp if you do not get enough sleep. French and American researchers combined to study this. They discovered that memory is strengthened as a result of sharp wave ripples, which transfer learned information to the brain’s neocortex from the hippocampus. The reason your memory suffers after a poor night’s sleep is that the sharp wave ripples usually happen during your deepest sleep levels.
  •    It ages you – Sleep deprivation also ages the skin. If you have had a few poor nights’ sleep, you are likely to experience puffy eyes and sallow skin. However, if you have chronic sleep loss, it gets worse, causing dark circles under the eyes, fine lines, and lacklustre skin. In addition to this, a great amount of cortisol, the stress hormone, is released when you do not get enough sleep. This can cause the skin collagen to break down, which is the protein that ensures your skin is kept elastic and smooth.
  •    It makes you depressed – Symptoms of depression can occur in those that have sleeping disorders. Insomnia, which is the most common type of sleep disorder, has a strong link to depression. They both feed each other. Depression makes it tougher to get to sleep while sleep loss enhances symptoms of depression.
  •    It makes you gain weight – There is also plenty of research to prove that weight gain and a lack of sleep are related. This is because appetite and hunger increase when you have not had enough sleep. Not only does a poor night’s sleep stimulate appetite, but also it creates cravings for foods that are high in carbohydrates and fat in particular.

How to improve sleep quality

  •    Get into a regular sleep cycle – One of the most important things you need to do is try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every evening. If you do this, you are going to find it much easier to go to sleep every evening because your body will get into a routine.
  •    Get some protein into your diet – A lot of people do not realise that protein has a positive impact on your sleep. Adding a protein bar to your daily diet is more beneficial than you probably know! You do need to make sure that you do not consume protein close to your bedtime, though. However, by consuming it during the day, it can aid with muscle recovery and sleep quality.
  •    The right light exposure – Another tip is to increase your exposure to bright light during the day and then reduce it during the evening.
  •    Consider melatonin supplements – Finally, you may also want to consider taking a melatonin supplement. There have been numerous studies that have proven that this can help with treating sleep disorders, ranging from mere jet lag to insomnia.

So there you have it – the importance of sleep, as well as some top tips on how to improve sleep quality. Follow the advice that has been presented above and you are bound to notice a difference.

This is a contributed post.

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