Sleep and the surprising health benefits from enough of it!

Ah sleep, I love my sleep. So often I have been casted as being boring or just no fun for wanting to get to bed at my normal ‘bed time’. Around about half 10 or 11pm. SO hardcore!

In fact, I need my sleep. I’ve noticed that if i get less than 7 hours of it a night, the next day is a complete write off. Cranky, uncontrollable hunger, mood swings, low energy. You name it. I may as well not leave the house that day.

But, as highlighted in in this recent study, the average amount needed to function well the next day is about 7-8 hours. I’m always very eager to get that 7 hours at least, mainly because getting up in the morning is a tonne much easier with 8. Try it, grab 8 hours and i guarantee you’ll be waking up feeling more refreshed. Not only will getting up be easier but so will a load more benefits arise… Check them out below.

1: You’ll have more energy

Sleep is the important switch at the end of the day that flips to reset the next morning. It’s your way of your body recovering from the stresses you put on it the previous day. Imagine if you didn’t recover at all, you’d just batter yourself into the ground. During sleep is where you inject that fuel back into your body, to help grow and repair, and that fuel should be considered a precious resource. Stick with me here. Compared to a hard working tractor or a full battery, neither will be able to accomplish much if there were hardly any fuel or electricity.

2: You’re more productive

The more tired you are, the less you can concentrate on a given task. With a great nights sleep, you’ve set yourself up in the best possible way to tackle anything which requires focus or attention. As distractions are easy to come by when you’re tired.

3: You’ll feel less stressed

Lack of sleep is one of the easiest ways to promote the production of the hormone, Cortisol. This nasty hormone is responsible for inhibiting growth and repair and just down right stops you from sleeping in the first place. Cortisol is produced when your body falls under stress, be it in the form of a hard workout, lack of sleep or mental stresses in life. When you don’t get the right amount of shut eye, you’ll place your body under stress, raising the levels of cortisol which in turn has side effects such as premature aging, loss of muscle tone, absence of human growth hormone and raised levels of blood sugar.

4: You’ll have more sex (if you choose)

Multiple sources show that a lack of sleep lowers your libido, that infamous sex drive. Sleep promotes growth of testosterone, which cortisol can ‘destroy’, and testosterone in both men and woman boost the said sex drive. More reason to sleep!!

5: You’ll have better reactions

Most of this comes down to levels of concentration. On a bad nights sleep you risk your attention levels becoming to a distractable state. Drowsy driving is officially a term used and is responsible for 1500 deaths a year from 100,000 crashes. Sleeplessness the night before has been show to prove as detrimental as having an alcoholic drink.

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6: You’ll build more muscle and fitness

There’s a huge reason why all those health and fitness magazine everyone buys bangs on about the importance of sleep. As mentioned above, it is the one of the foundations to grow and repair your body whilst you sleep. At the beginning of the night and when you’re not in a ‘deep sleep state’ you body produces growth hormone, repairing those damaged muscles and allowing you to recover better for the gym session the next day or all round body recovery. Lack of sleep is massively linked to muscle atrophy (loss of muscle to you and me).

7: You’ll make safer financial decisions

When you’re low on sleep, financial decisions are made in a rash manner. You’ll actually distinguish risk a lot lower on a short night of sleep, chasing big risky gains instead of the safer lower risked options. There’s the importance of having a bit of sleep the day before you’re planning on buying that private jet or land rover. k… This also raises the expression of sleeping on it, you’re more likely to make a more sensible decision on anything after a strong night of sleeping!

8: Better memory and recall

Feeling a bit, well, forgetful? Ye me too, everyday probably raises some questions for me. It appears in a variety of studies that having a decent nights sleep consolodates all the momories from the past day. Missing out on that important sleep means certain memories may not be stored correctly. Even more, sleep deprivation has show to increase the chance of ‘false memories’, essentially making up slight details of situations they thought were true.

9: You’ll learn new skills better

Your brain is like a muscle, just a bit squishy. As any other muscle in the human body, it needs time to grow and repair, essentially take in the previous days learning. This ties in with memory really. This is applicable to both children and adults. Studies show when adults tried to perform a task just the once, then were told to get a good nights sleep and repeat the task the next day, it showed vast improvement. Children also reported better scores at school after delaying the start of opening said school by an hour every day. The extra sleep per night attributed to an increase in 2 percentile points. All about that knowledge!!

10: You’ll have a better immune system

And last but not least, the immune system. You’re much more likely to risk a cold or flu when your immune system is running a tad low. And sadly that is exactly what happens when you have a bad nights sleep. It has been shown that individuals who had 7 hours or less of sleep a night were three times as likely (!) to develop a cold than someone who slept for 8+ hours a night. And that’s where the definition of run-down comes from!

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So there we have it, certainly not an extensive list of benefits but ten of a significant importance.

The next time someone tells you you’re being a bit of a bore, just tell them to bore off! I’m all for a spontaneous night out or later night to bed, but personally I realise that I do quite well on my 8 hours sleep a night. This doesn’t mean I always achieve 8 hours, but try to make it a habit to get to that golden 8 and you’ll notice better gains in the gym, in your professional life and mentally.

Last but not least, find below a cool infographic on sleep and some stats. Cheers for checking in to this interesting article and if you liked it share it round or mention anything in the comment section below.

Charge up your sleep and smash the next day!

Thanks

sleep infographic

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