Ah, sleep. A sometimes-elusive, but absolutely necessary bodily function with a seemingly endless number of benefits for physical, mental and emotional health. And still, many don’t prioritize it as they should. In case you need convincing of the importance of proper rest, we’ve compiled a list of the top three reasons that better sleep should be at the top of your to-do list for a healthier mind and body.
1. It Can Make You More Productive During the Day
No matter your schedule or job, we all have checklists of tasks to complete each day. Productivity and concentration are important to completing those tasks, and sleep is one key way to improve these cognitive abilities. It is well-recognized that a lack of sleep negatively affects performance, attention, and productivity.
2. It Can Naturally Help Prevent Anxiety
Anxiety is an issue that plagues millions of Americans, and its connection to sleep is starting to become more clear.
In one recent study, a group of young adults was asked to watch an unsettling video after a night of poor sleep, and then after a restful night’s sleep. The researchers found that a sleepless night raised anxiety levels by 30%! Conversely, in a follow-up experiment to the one linked previously, sleep researcher Matthew Walker of the University of California Berkeley and his colleagues confirmed that people who had the highest amount of deep sleep experienced the least anxiety the next day. While the connection between sleep and anxiety is still being studied, research like this shows that it may be worthwhile to prescribe sleep hygiene improvements to those with anxiety disorders to the potential benefit of both their sleep and anxiety. If you experience anxiety, it won’t hurt to implement strategies to improve your sleep habits (more on that below).
3. It Can Help Stabilize Your Mood
Many of us know from personal experience that sleep (or lack thereof) can have a drastic impact on our mood. A recent study confirmed the effects that a lack of sleep has on the emotion of anger, specifically — that individuals who get an adequate amount of sleep each night exhibit fewer emotional outbursts and display fewer aggressive behaviors. It may sound obvious, but maintaining a stable mood and prohibiting aggressive outbreaks is crucially important for healthy relationships, and sleep can help with both of these mood-related concerns.
Practical Ways to Improve Sleep Hygiene
- Don’t Watch the News Before Bed: Stress and poor sleep go hand-in-hand. While watching or reading the news before bed might be tempting, it may be one of the worst things you can do for your rest as it increases your stress levels, making it harder to fall asleep.
- Maintain a Regular Sleep Routine: Do your best to enforce regular, consistent bedtimes and wake times, such as always going to bed at 11 p.m. and waking up at 7 a.m., no matter the day of the week. While this can be a difficult task, it’s important for better sleep and a better quality of life.
- Don’t Forget About the Sun: Humans are generally thought to be diurnal creatures that are programmed to be awake during the day when the sun is shining and asleep at night when it’s dark. Accordingly, a good tip for better sleep is to expose your body to sunlight in the morning, as it promotes the production of melatonin sooner at night, helping sleep come easier.
When Sleep Hygiene Isn’t Enough
If you just can’t seem to get enough sleep despite trying the best practices above, you might be suffering from a more complicated problem like obstructive sleep apnea, a very common sleep disorder.Think you might have sleep apnea? Just call Sleep Better Georgia today or request an appointment to take the first step to getting better rest and improving your quality of life.