Most of us have experienced the long, groggy days that can follow a bad night’s sleep. But what happens when that bad night turns into two or three restless nights that leave you feeling less than your best?
Sleep is a critical part of your whole health. As you close your eyes and drift off to sleep, your body is still hard at work to keep you healthy. Adequate sleep can:
- Boost your immunity
- Help you maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce your risk of serious chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes
Benefits of sleep don’t stop at the physical. Turns out a good night’s sleep — at least seven to nine hours — is also good for your mental and spiritual health. If that’s not reason enough to commit to an earlier bedtime, here are a few extra motivating factors.
Sleep Improves Your Mental Well-Being
Getting enough sleep every night can help reduce your risk of serious mental health issues. Regularly skimping on sleep may increase your risk of depressive symptoms or feelings of stress and worry.
It can be hard to drift off for a peaceful night’s sleep if you’re already worried about your anxiety or catching enough ZZZs. Make some space in your evening to turn off the screens, dim the lighting and slow down. Try journaling, gentle stretches or quiet moments of gratitude to help calm your worries and quiet your mind.
Sharpen Your Memory
Waking up after a restless night can be a little like walking around in a fog. It’s hard to focus, concentrate and remember specific events or tasks in the day ahead. Keep a sharp mind and clear head by getting plenty of rest every night.
Parents know the wrath and fury of a child who missed naptime. Turns out it’s just as hard on adults to regulate emotions without enough sleep. Keep the peace (with yourself and those around you) with a consistent bedtime every night.
Sleep helps support our cognitive abilities. Studies consistently find that a lack of sleep is linked to poor decision making, inattention, difficulty understanding new topics and many other cognitive skills. Boost your brain power with a night of sound sleep.
One of the scariest (and most dangerous) side effects of not getting enough sleep is a slower reaction time. Drowsy driving has been shown to be just as dangerous as driving under the influence or while distracted. Stick to the passenger side if you’re feeling drowsy and avoid the temptation to drive long distances overnight.
Wake up With a Clear Head
Researchers have discovered that while we sleep, our brains are clearing out the toxins that build up during the day. These toxins include precursors to the plaques of Alzheimer’s disease, which may mean a good night’s sleep could help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.
A Bedtime Routine for All
A bedtime routine and optimal sleep environment [EZ1] aren’t just for kids. They can help adults get the sleep they need for their whole health. Talk to your primary care provider about any concerns or troubles you have getting a good night sleep.