We all know sleep is pretty fantastic. A great many of us would sleep all the time, purely for enjoyment, if we didn’t have kids to look after or the need to work for a living. Others find it to be an activity that gets in the way of productivity. No matter how you look at it, sleep is a vitally important part of your body’s healing and restorative process, and the benefits of getting a full night’s sleep are numerous.
Getting a full night’s sleep will put you in a better frame of mind. Harvard University conducted a study on the connection between sleep deprivation and the affect it has on a person’s mood, and found them to be closely connected. Even if it doesn’t wake you up, simply being uncomfortable while you sleep is enough to cause a significant change in mood when you’re conscious — if you ever experience mood swings, it might be time to head over to Sleepy’s and replace that lumpy old mattress.
A study by the US National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that lack of sleep drastically impairs your ability to concentrate throughout the day. This is especially common in teenagers, but affects a large proportion of the adult population too. Simply getting a full eight hours of shut eye will allow you to focus more completely on your work, leading to improved efficiency. Coffee and energy drinks just can’t compare to getting enough sleep.
Better decision making
It’s common knowledge that your brain uses the time while you are asleep to turn over the stimulus of the day. It’s the reason you can go to sleep with an unsolved problem in your mind and awaken with a clear and present solution. A proper night’s sleep will allow you to carry this mode of reliable thinking with you throughout the day — a well-rested mind is one better prepared to make critical decisions.
Related to the above point, in addition to being able to sort through the day’s information, a good night’s rest also provides a boost to your long-term memory. During the REM cycle, when much of this activity occurs, the brain is pulling information from the short term memory and finding things that need to be stored in the long term memory. A restless sleep that interrupts these cycles will prevent this important work from occurring properly.
Resilient immune system
Sick and tired of being tired and sick? Studies performed by the National Sleep Foundation have shown that simply getting a proper night’s sleep significantly strengthens one’s immune system, creating a major defence against illness or infection. Those who get less than 6 hours of sleep every night are far more susceptible to illness than well rested people. And if you’re already sick, a good night’s sleep will allow you to recuperate faster.
These are just a few of the ways that a good night’s sleep can benefit you in your day-to-day life. While you rest, your body is working hard to make the coming day easier for you to get through. Enjoy your sleep — it’s good for you.
Photo credit: planetchopstick on Flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0.