Can a healthy sleep routine improve your personal wellbeing?
We all know what a difference a good night’s sleep makes. When you’ve caught enough ZZZ’s, suddenly there is a spring in your step, and you feel better equipped to take on the day. Sleep is, after all, essential so that our body and mind can recharge overnight.
Most adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but it is not just the quantity that matters – the quality of sleep is vital. For better sleep quality and sleep wellness, you need a healthy sleep routine.
A healthy sleep routine has a direct impact on sleep quality and subsequently, our physical and mental health. Having a good sleep routine can help us get enough hours to snooze in bed, ward off habits that harm sleep, and prepare our body and mind before bedtime. A consistent sleep routine also helps our natural body clock to know when to switch off for the night.
Still not convinced? Here are ten of the main benefits you can reap from maintaining a healthy sleep routine.
Ten benefits of a healthy sleep routine
1. A stronger immune system
Healthy sleep helps to keep our body physically healthy by enabling it to fight off diseases. Sleep is when our body rests and repairs itself and it is those hours spent resting that keep our immune system fighting fit; sleep supports the cells and proteins of our immune system.
It has even been found that good sleep can make vaccines more effective!
2. A healthier heart
Bad sleep and a poor sleep routine can increase the risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. This is because waking up often in the night stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. When this stimulus happens, it causes blood pressure to increase and the cardiovascular system to become activated.
The more often you wake up in the night, the greater the risk of your blood pressure remaining high. Without a healthy sleep routine, you are more likely to sleep restlessly.
A lack of sleep has also been linked to poor insulin regulation.
3. Easier weight management
Sleep helps to control the hormones that regulate your appetite so when you haven’t slept well you are more likely to eat more during the day.
Because poor sleep will make your body require more energy, you are also more likely to crave high calorie, fatty foods when you are tired.
4. Reduced stress
If you’re not racking up enough sleep, your body starts to produce more stress hormones, like cortisol.
A good night’s sleep with enough hours spent in deep sleep helps your body relax.
5. Improved mood and better mental health
Lack of quality sleep can make us grumpy and generally annoyed – we have all been there! Sleep deprivation plays havoc with our mood, patience, and energy levels. The better we sleep, the easier it is to face the world, calm and controlled.
If poor sleep is a constant companion, the more at risk you are developing poor mental health, too. Sleep and our mental wellbeing are directly linked; anxiety thrives on poor sleep!
6. Improved attention and concentration
The brain needs rest to function properly. Getting plenty of good quality sleep will help you stay more alert, focused, and sharp, ready to take on any challenges the day may bring.
7. Better memory
Have you ever been left forgetful after a poor night’s sleep? Just like our bodies, our mind needs rest to process the memories made that day. Not getting enough sleep can start hampering those memories, or even make you lose them.
8. Increased exercise performance
This one is a given – low energy doesn’t make a great marathon runner. But whether you’re an elite athlete, a weekend gym goer or a Pilates enthusiast, good quality sleep helps with reaction time, strength, hand-eye coordination and muscle recovery.
9. Sleep can keep you safe
Quite literally. You are more likely to suffer injuries or cause accidents when you haven’t had enough sleep. This is because poor sleep slows down reaction times and makes it harder to concentrate.
10. Stronger, happier relationships
A great night’s sleep sets you in a more positive mood for the day, which the people around you are bound to notice.
Sleep helps with our emotional wellbeing as well, helping us wake up more uplifted. Sleep can also have a positive effect on our communication skills and language, which are both needed to build strong relationships.