9 Reasons to Sleep More

The ultimate pro-sleeper cheat sheet

You’ve heard the frightening list of things that can happen when you don’t get the sleep you need. From short-term avoidable accidents to long-term disease risk and early death, it’s enough to send us racing to our bedrooms. But what about the amazing benefits that are yours for the taking when you do get the sleep you need?

After all, wouldn’t you rather hear about the rewards for a change?

In the interest of brevity, we cut our list off at 9 but we challenge you to share more. Leave a note in the comments below and let the world in on your sleep secrets.

Live longer

When it comes to how long you’re going to live, there’s a lot of truth in the saying that genetics is a loaded gun – but your environment is the trigger. You may carry genes for a multitude of diseases, but whether you get them or not is largely dependent on how you live your life. If you want to live longer, sleep can be your best defense against a slew of diseases.

Maintain a healthy weight

Mattress manufacturers should consider giving away a free bathing suit with every purchase. Think we’re crazy? As wild as the idea sounds, substantial medical evidence suggests fascinating links between sleep and weight. According to WebMD.com, “Researchers say that how much you sleep and quite possibility the quality of your sleep may silently orchestrate a symphony of hormonal activity tied to your appetite.”

Manage stressful situations better

Some stress is good for us – like date night with your partner or accepting an award for a job well done. But some stress has the power to turn us into impatient toddlers, especially if we didn’t get a good night’s sleep. If you’re averaging four to five hours sleep a night, your brain reacts to stress as if you’ve gone for three consecutive nights without any sleep. Imagine the power you’ll have the next time your boss wigs out and you’ve had a good night’s sleep…

Reduce inflammation and pain

Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and premature aging all have strong ties to inflammation. If you sleep less than six hours a night, your blood levels of inflammatory proteins may be higher than people who sleep more. Show your heart some love – put it to bed.

Enjoy physical activity

When’s the last night you had a terrible night’s sleep and bounced out of bed in the morning, energized and ready for a 10K run? We thought so. Sleep is the mop-up crew for your brain and body, cleaning up spills, reorganizing memories and repairing muscle tissue. Skip that important recovery time and you look more like the energizer bunny who didn’t make the cut.

Avoid accidents

In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that sleepy drivers are responsible for the most single car crashes – even more than alcohol. What’s downright sobering though is that even one sleep deprived night can impair your driving, mimicking the effects of an alcoholic drink.

Embrace lifelong learning

Just as sleep repairs muscle tissue, it also cleans out the synapses in your brain. Sleep facilitates the processing of memories, moving the important ones to storage and discarding the ones you won’t need tomorrow. Without sleep, your memories all stay in the short term retrieval area and learning complex skills becomes nearly impossible. So in essence, that 8-hour void of doing nothing other than sleep actually makes you smarter.

Fight depression

The relationship between sleep and depressive illness is complex – depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause or contribute to depressive disorders. But the evidence is clear: people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression compared with those who sleep well, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Enjoy more creativity

Ever notice how creativity ebbs and flows during the day? Depending on whether you’re a night hawk or early bird, you’ll enjoy spurts of creativity throughout the day – when your brain is most awake and energized. Without sleep, your brain lacks the fuel it needs to get into that creative zone. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy – without sleep, he’s really a drag.

Now you know the amazing benefits of a good night’s sleep. Who’s tucking in early tonight?


Eager for more sleep info you can really use? Join our communities on Facebook and Twitter and let’s continue the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

Why Alcohol & Sleep Don’t Mix

Alcohol is not a sleep aid, contrary to popular belief

A glass of wine at the end of a long day is a common way to unwind. It’s relaxing, settling and prepares us for slipping into a long and peaceful slumber. Well, not exactly. That seemingly innocent glass of wine may actually be doing more harm than good. While it might help you unwind and fall asleep faster, it hinders the quality of sleep you achieve. Talk about a rotten catch-22.

Here are some ways that glass of wine before bed affects your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

REM sleep – When you consume alcohol before bed it reduces REM sleep, which happens approximately 90 minutes after you fall asleep. It’s the cycle of sleep when you dream and is thought to be the most restorative – when your brain resets. “Alcohol may seem to be helping you to sleep, as it helps induce sleep, but overall it is more disruptive to sleep, particularly in the second half of the night,” says researcher Irshaad Ebrahim, medical director at The London Sleep Centre in the U.K. Read more at WebMD.com.

Sleep apnea – Alcohol is a muscle relaxant and can slacken throat tissues more than usual during sleep, making the airway more vulnerable to obstruction. This makes sleep apnea worse for those who suffer from it. Read more at USNews.com.

Tiptoeing to the restroom – Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it moves through your system quickly, taking other fluid with it. Even if nothing else keeps you awake, trekking back and forth to the bathroom will.

Women – The effects of alcohol on sleep are even more predominate in women. In one study, women who went to bed tipsy sleep much less soundly than men who had the same blood-alcohol content. Although researchers aren’t certain why these gender differences exist, it could be because women’s bodies clear alcohol from the bloodstream more quickly. Read more at CNN.com.

The hangover – Ever wonder why you tend to wake up early after a night of drinking – with a headache as an added bonus? It’s because your body’s craving the fluids it lost during the frequent trips to the bathroom you made last night. You’re dehydrated. Replenish your body with water and electrolytes as soon as possible when awake. Read more at EverydayHealth.com.

It’s understandable that you want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage after a long day every once in a while. Keep your nightcap to one glass and enjoy it at least 2 hours before bed. Alcohol is not a sleep aide and using it to relax is a dangerous road to travel. Instead, work on developing better sleep habits that way you’ll wake up well-rested and refreshed ready to take on your day.

 

Eager for more sleep info you can really use? Join our communities on Facebook and Twitter and let’s continue the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.