We all know that sleep is good for our bodies and minds but most of us resist going to bed early and decide we'd rather be doing other, less productive things.
We’d prefer to be watching a show.
Or scrolling on our phones.
Or playing a video game.
They’re all more exciting than going to bed at a reasonable hour, right?
Perhaps. But unfortunately, if you consistently stay up late, it can have a detrimental effect on how well you play, perform, behave and carry out all your normal everyday routines in the coming days and weeks.
Why is sleep important?
You might think you’re just resting your physical body and getting it ready for the next day but, there’s a lot more to it than just that.
While you sleep your entire body is going through a process that has massive benefits on your brain function, mental health as well as all boosting your immune system and lots more.
Here are just some of the ways that good quality sleep can change your life for the better:
- It helps us learn and process information better – Without adequate sleep, it’s impossible to have the focus to learn. As well as that, sleep plays a role in consolidating what you’ve already learned during the day, meaning you’ll retain the information for longer.
- It promotes heart health – During sleep, your body releases hormones, some of which are associated with maintaining healthy blood vessels which are essential for keeping heart disease which is important as you get older.
- It prevents overeating and weight gain – Sleep on it’s own won’t help you lose weight. However, when you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces a hormone called ghrelin which boosts your appetite and makes you hungry. And if you’re too tired to prepare a nutritious meal, chances are you’re going to go for the easy (and usually unhealthy!) option.
- It regulates your blood sugar and balances your mood – Have you noticed that you get more irritable when you’re tired? Sleep deprivation can cause many problems with metabolism, including fluctuating blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar levels go up and down, these affect your mood, energy levels and mental function.
- It reduces stress and anxiety – A good night’s sleep helps your mind and body relax and recover from your day. When you’re sleep deprived, your body releases stress hormones. These can lead you to react poorly in certain situations due to irritability and anxiety. This will last until you get some much-needed rest.
How to get a good night’s sleep
If you struggle to get to sleep at night or find yourself waking up and not being able to get back to sleep, try some of the following tips:
- Try to put your phone and/or laptop away an hour before bed
- Get blackout blinds
- Wear an eyemask
- Listen to a meditation
- Wear ear plugs
- Use a lavender-scented sleep spray
- Stop eating about two hours before bed
- Lower the temperature in your bedroom or have a bath/shower before bed