Restful sleep does you a whole lot of good. By Sasha Gonzales
More reasons to hit the sack earlier tonight. (Photo: Unsplash / www.pixabay.com)
It’s morning and your alarm goes off. Chances are you hit the snooze button, instead of jumping out of bed feeling refreshed and ready to start the day. Newsflash: Going about your daily routine in a zombie-state is bad for you. Here’s why you should really hit the sack earlier to get in your seven hours of beauty sleep every night.
1. Health benefits of restful sleep: Improves memory
The deepest state of sleep (also called the REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep stage and in which you dream) has been proven to be the most mind rejuvenating. “Scientiﬁcally it is difficult to explain why this is so,” says Dr Kenny Pang, ear, nose and throat/sleep specialist and medical director at Asia Sleep Centre, “but what we do know is that people who don’t get that deep quality sleep tend to have a poorer memory.”
2. Health benefits of restful sleep: Helps you live longer
It is believed that chronic sleep deprivation can shorten one’s life span by a third. When you have enough sleep, you function better, your immune system is stronger (which means you are better able to ﬁght disease and infection), your mood is happier, and you feel more positive about your life.
3. Health benefits of restful sleep: Boosts productivity
You can work better and more efficiently, think faster, and get things done more quickly because you are not fatigued and you have the energy to keep you going.
4. Health benefits of restful sleep: Increases concentration
If you are sleepy, your attention span is short and you may have trouble with even simple lateral thinking, says Dr Pang. “It’s been proven that there is a strong correlation between ADHD (Attention Deﬁcit Hyperactive Disorder) and a lack of quality sleep.
Get at least seven hours of sleep each night to reap the benefits. (Photo: serezniy / www.123rf.com)
5. Health benefits of restful sleep: Keeps you trim
Ghrelin, a hormone produced in the hypothalamus of the brain, is responsible for appetite. When you are sleep-deprived, or if you suffer from sleep apnoea, ghrelin production increases and you wake up feeling not just tired, but hungry too. Dr Pang says that this makes you eat more, which in turn makes you gain weight. The heavier and bigger you are, the more prone you are to sleep apnoea, and the cycle just perpetuates itself. In a nutshell, sleep helps keep your appetite under control.
6. Health benefits of restful sleep: Lowers depression
“Production of your body’s happy hormone, otherwise known as serotonin, is linked to the quality and amount of sleep. No sleep translates to lower serotonin levels, which can make you more prone to sadness,” says Dr Pang.
7. Health benefits of restful sleep: Reduces stress
Sleep is tension relieving but it also gives you the energy to do the things you love, be it exercise or spending time with friends – all stress-reducing activities in themselves.
8. Health benefits of restful sleep: Lowers risk of hypertension, stroke and heart attack
“Long-term lack of oxygen as a result of sleep apnoea affects your circulatory system and makes your heart work harder in order to pump oxygen throughout your body,” Dr Pang explains. “When your heart is stressed this way over a period of time, it can lead to hypertension, or a burst blood vessel in the brain, causing stroke. It can also cause heart attack and even sudden death.”