Despite my best efforts, I don’t always get a good night’s sleep even though I already know what the benefits of a good night sleep are. The worries of the day and the thought of tasks ahead can meet head on inside my mind and leave me awake at 3am.
I used to think that sleep, while certainly a lovely concept, wasn’t all that necessary if I got at least five to six hours of rest each night. However, I quickly learned that sleep impacts more than how many cups of tea I go through each day; sleep impacts everything.
5 Benefits of a Good Night Sleep
Lack of Sleep Impacts Memory Loss
A lack of sleep impacts memory and memory impacts everything from learning a new language to remembering where you put your car keys. While you sleep, your brain processes the information that it learned during the day and gets you ready to tackle more. That’s why, if you’ve had an especially rough day and your mind is on overload, a good night’s rest can make everything a bit better in the morning.
Lack of Sleep Impacts Creativity
Once your brain compiles and “cleans out” the extra things from the day before, it’s ready to start a fresh new day. Think of your day as a giant piece of chart paper that’s got ideas scribbled all over it. When the brain organizes those thoughts while you sleep, you’re left with a fresh new page upon which to unleash your creativity. Without sleep, your brain is left muddled from the day before.
Sleep Impacts Inflammation in the Body
If you’re guilty of getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep too, there’s a risk of increased inflammation in the body. That means that higher blood pressure becomes something that might need to be monitored.
A 2010 study linked sleep deprivation and insomnia to an increase in hypertension. Who knew that sleeping is actually good for your heart?!
Sleep Impacts Physical Performance
Whether it’s a big presentation that’s happening in the morning or a day chasing toddlers, your stamina and focus improve with enough rest. The more sleep you get, the less fatigued you are and the more energy you have to channel into those situations that require you to be “on” during the day.
If you’re an athlete or an avid exerciser, sleep greatly impacts your focus and stamina in the gym as well.
Sleep Impacts Productivity
What is essential to productivity? Focus. And what do you lack when you don’t have enough sleep? Focus. In fact, a rather frightening 2003 study showed that even getting six hours or less of sleep each night over a two-week period has the same effect as staying awake for two days straight.
What’s even more concerning is that most of the people who fell into that six or less hours of sleep category weren’t even aware of their gradual decline in cognitive function. In order to reign in focus and increase your productivity, sleep is essential.
So, the next time you think about reaching for that cup of caffeine after dinner or contemplate skipping a few hours of sleep, think again. The effects of cumulative sleep loss are dangerous and often hard to recognize in yourself.
Sleep gives our bodies an amazing chance to recover, reset, and recharge us for the next day. Give yourself a break – get some sleep!