The Positive Effects of Changing Your Sleep
You may not feel any immediate effects of missing out on sleep, but if you are consecutively getting less than 7 hours of sleep each night you are making yourself susceptible to sleep deprivation.
The symptoms of being sleep deprived include far more than just feeling tired. If you consistently skip out on a good night’s rest, you can experience a bad attitude, mood swings, a slowed immune system, trouble concentrating, high blood pressure, and a risk for diabetes and other serious conditions.
Putting your health on the line is no joke. You should be serious about getting your 7-9 hours of high-quality, restorative sleep each night. This will improve your life in more ways than just feeling energized. If you work on fixing your sleep routine and consistently getting healthy rest each night, you’ll start to see a lot of beneficial changes in your life.
You’ll have a better outlook on life
Quality sleep is an incredibly important component in keeping your mental health in order. Whether you realize it or not, going through your days feeling tired gives you a negative attitude. Waking up on the wrong side of the bed makes you groggy, moody, and irritable. In fact, severe sleep deprivation can even lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.
When you start getting better sleep more regularly, you’ll find yourself feeling energized and generally more optimistic. Don’t let your exhaustion drag you down; improve your sleep routine to help boost your overall mood for a more enjoyable life.
You’ll be a better employee
Better sleep = better cognitive function. When you’re well rested, you become more alert and have an easier time concentrating. Sleeping can even help improve your memory. A 2010 Harvard study showed that taking the time to sleep on an issue and dreaming can help you reactivate and reorganize information which improves memory and boosts overall performance.
If you’re looking to be a more productive employee, dedicate time to your ZZZs so your brain has the rest time it needs to function better during the day.
You’ll be in better shape
Some of the explanations for being in worse shape when you lose sleep are obvious. When you’re struggling to get through your day you’ll be more prone to pick up sugary snacks or a venti latte. You’ll also be less enthused to work out and be active, and you may choose fast food over a home-cooked healthy meal for the sake of being on low energy.
However, there’s also some science behind it. Being low on sleep triggers a cortisol spike in your body. This stress hormone sends a signal in your body to conserve energy to fuel you, which means your body clings to fat. Being sleep deprived also makes you “metabolically groggy," slowing down your body’s ability to process insulin, a hormone which converts sugar, starches, and other food into energy. A recent study on this found insulin sensitivity to drop by more than 30% when you’re sleep deprived.
So by managing your late nights, you’ll also be able to manage your diet better.
You’ll look better
When you lose sleep, your skin barrier function slows down. This means if you aren’t sleeping enough, your skin isn’t retaining moisture as well as it would with more than seven hours of sleep. You also lose out on the time needed for healing from sun damage. Lingering sun damage makes you more susceptible to skin cancer and it also increases aging.
Of course, there are other factors that affect your skin quality such as genetics, diet, and skincare routine, but quality sleep will help you keep your skin glowing. It turns out that beauty sleep is the real deal, so don’t skimp out on your sleep.
How to improve your ZZZs
Maybe you’re ready to get more serious about your sleep, but you don’t know where to start. Here are some tips to help you start having more healthy, consistent sleep each night:
- Develop a routine: Help your body fall into a rhythm by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. This will make it easier to stick to consistent sleep.
- Try natural remedies: Using essential oils, a warm bath, a cup of herbal tea, or some nighttime yoga stretches can help relax you for sleep.
- Re-evaluate your mattress: You should be updating your mattress every 10 years for your best sleep. Know the signs your mattress needs an upgrade.
- Block out noises: Try a white noise machine to mask background sounds if they are disturbing your sleep.
- Set up your sleep haven: Your bedroom plays a role in how well you sleep. Optimize your bedroom space for a better night’s rest.
Author bio: Laurie Larson is a freelance writer based in Durham, NC. When she isn’t busy writing, she enjoys spending time in nature and her favorite coffee shops.