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The Power of Sleep: Why It Is So Important to Your Health

Discover the power of sleep and its impact on your health. Learn why good sleep is essential and how it restores, fights stress and supports mental health.

Sleep is essential for one’s health. Yet, millions of Americans don’t get enough sleep. Surveys conducted by the National Science Foundation found that 60 percent of adults report having trouble sleeping. At least 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. That’s unfortunate, as sleep is more powerful than any drug in its ability to rejuvenate and restore the human brain and body. It may seem like nothing really goes on when we sleep, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

How Sleep Helps Us Stay Healthy

Sleep is essential for our body to function properly both physically and mentally. It’s as important as diet and exercise. Good sleep improves your mood, health, and brain performance. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night to function properly. Let’s take a closer look.

Sleep Restores Us

When you sleep, your body is busy at work. Sleep allows the body to engage in the process of recovery and repair. During sleep, the body repairs and rebuilds cellular components that are depleted throughout the day. Your body clears debris from the lymphatic system when you are fast asleep. This process boosts the immune system, helps repair muscles, aids hormone release, and helps with tissue growth.

Sleep Helps Us Fight Stress

A lack of sleep can impair our ability to cope with stress. That is because when we don’t sleep, it causes high levels of cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine, which are all stress hormones. If sleep deprivation and the overproduction of stress hormones continue, you’ll be more likely to experience chronic stress.

Sleep is Essential for Mental Health

Sleep problems are very common in those with mental illness. Sleep is closely connected to emotional and mental health. Poor sleep is connected with bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and other conditions. 

Research suggests that a lack of sleep contributes to the development of mental health issues and the maintenance of existing ones. Mental illness makes it more difficult to sleep well. At the same time, sleep issues, including insomnia, can make mental health problems worse.

How to Get Better Sleep

Now that you know how important sleep is to your overall emotional and physical health, let's talk about how to improve sleep. There are a number of lifestyle changes that you can make to get better sleep. Here are just a few of them.

#1 Have a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Establish a realistic bedtime routine. A daily bedtime routine is a series of activities you do in the hour before bedtime. A bedtime routine can help create habits that tell your brain it is time to get ready for bed. Your nighttime routine could include meditating, reading a book, turning off screens, or adjusting your bedroom environment. Stick to your bedtime routine even on weekends.

#2 Keep the Thermostat Low

The temperature of your bedroom can make a huge difference to your sleep. The best room temperature for sleep is about 65 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Sleep Foundation. This can vary from person to person. However, most people sleep best when the thermostat is kept between 60-68 degrees.

#3 Turn Off Devices Early

Numerous studies have shown a link between electronic devices and sleep. These devices interfere with sleep by suppressing the production of melatonin. Therefore, consider a ban on cell phones, tablets, and computers at least one hour before bed.

#4 Avoid Caffeine Before Bed

It’s best to avoid caffeine at least six hours before bed, according to researchers. Studies have found that administering caffeine at or near bedtime is associated with significant sleep disturbances.

#5 Eat Earlier in the Day

Make sure you abstain from large meals right before bed. Consuming a large meal right before bed can affect sleep quality. When you eat close to bedtime, you’re going against your body’s natural circadian rhythm. It’s best to avoid eating three hours before bed.

#6 Try a B-Complex Vitamin

There is evidence that supplementing with B vitamins can help improve sleep duration and quality. Both B6 and B12, in particular, are thought to play a role in sound sleep, in part because both help your body produce melatonin and serotonin.



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