Do you enjoy relaxing on a Friday night and watching superheroes fly across your television screen, escaping death and defying the laws of physics without breaking a sweat? If so, you know how tantalizing the thought of having superpowers of your own to tackle life’s challenges would be. But we’ll let you in on a secret: every person on the planet has a hidden power!
Before you run off and try to turn invisible or read your nosy neighbour’s mind, your hidden superpower only manifests itself when you lie down for the night and fall into blissful slumber. That’s right, sleep and recovery are our body’s natural ‘cure-all’ mechanism that stops medical issues and trouble in their tracks. If you think this is all too good to be true, here are ten reasons why a good night’s sleep is essential for any aspiring superhero.
1. Fat Loss
Yes – you read the title correctly: sleep can help you lose fat and shed unwanted weight accumulated throughout the holiday. Sleep plays a pivotal role in our body’s metabolism, and when sleep gets disrupted or regularly disturbed, fat clings to our frame like glue.
Without diving into the technical details and boring you to death, lack of sleep causes your body to become intolerant of glucose, stresses your cells and deregulates your metabolism, forcing you to burn fewer calories throughout the day. Simply put, go to bed and don’t think twice!
2. Productivity Machine
The difference between a boring life filled with regret and disappointment and one that’s overflowing with abundance and joy comes down to one’s ability to focus. When we concentrate on pertinent tasks with unwavering tenacity, our to-do lists mould our life into something to behold.
And for those readers who think they don’t suffer from procrastination, think again! How many of the following side effects of lacklustre sleep are you struggling with daily?
- Distracted focus
- Chronic daydreaming
- Performing projects at the last minute
- Switching tabs on your internet browser
- Opening multiple phone applications
- Forgetting your original task
- Spotty work history
If you’re anything like the average person, your life has become inundated with instances of brain fog and ‘I’ll-do-it-tomorrow’ excuses. Luckily for us, a good night’s sleep will provide the much-needed motivation to perform our best.
3. Depression Eliminator
Depression is a serious topic that needs addressing by a professional who deals with mental health issues, but mild depressive episodes regularly come as a side effect of substandard sleep. If you’ve found yourself feeling blue or sad for no apparent reason, and you’ve tried to find a way to cure the experience to no avail, examine how you’re falling asleep each night.
Sleep is, without a doubt, a topic that eludes many of us. For starters, many of us ritually perform bad habits before heading to bed each night, and as a result, our performance and quality of life drop drastically. Be critical of your nightly routine and ask yourself if you’ve sabotaged your slumber for years without knowing it:
- Using the phone in bed
- Drinking caffeine four hours before sleep
- Sleeping in too warm of an environment
- Lying in bed, waiting for sleep to come
- Eating meals before slumber
- Consuming alcohol or nicotine
- Taking extended naps throughout the day
Let’s face it, though: there are hundreds of do’s and don’ts before sleeping that dictate how well we rest each night. As a rule of thumb, eliminate phone usage while trying to rest, never lie in bed if insomnia occurs, cut the caffeine before winding down for the day and keep light-emitting devices out of the room. Combine these tips with lowering your bedroom’s temperature and using blackout curtains, and watch as your depressive mood washes away into non-existence like a dream upon waking.
4. Memory Booster
Have you ever met someone at a dinner party or work event, only to forget their name within 30 seconds? The fun begins when you interact with them later in the evening and awkwardly try to converse with the individual without calling them by the wrong name!
Implementing a healthy sleep routine and taking note of your recovery will improve your working memory. Working memory, unlike long-term memory, is our brain’s ability to retrieve information that we’ve just received. Small pieces of data, like phone numbers, names of acquaintances, street names, food orders, passwords and mailing addresses are all controlled by your working memory.
When you slip into restorative sleep, your mind stores critical data for long-term usage and recall. Without a good night’s rest, your mind fumbles over itself and starts sabotaging your ability to solidify small pieces of information.
5. Lower Inflammatory Response
Inflammation is a mechanism in our body that gets a bad wrap. On one side of the coin, inflammation is a necessary process our body utilizes to heal cells, recover from injury, fight against foreign bacteria and eliminate viruses. On the other side, excessive or prolonged inflammation leads to swelling, poor circulation, chronic aches, sensitivity and sickness.
When we mind the do’s and don’ts before sleeping and incorporate a healthy nighttime ritual, we help our system delicately balance the adequate amount of inflammatory response it needs to recover from a gruelling workout session or rough day in the office. If we fail to address our recovery, chemicals from damaged cells — prostaglandins, bradykinin and histamine — flood our system and wreak havoc on our lifestyle.
6. Improved Athleticism
Do you randomly trip over non-existent objects or lose your balance for no reason? While many of us chalk these occurrences up being clumsy, they’re often indicators that something is happening below the surface.
Whether you’re an athlete who needs your body to perform at its best for your career or a stay-at-home parent who chases the rugrats around all day, balance and movement are essential. When we deprive ourselves of much-needed sleep, we decrease our postural stability. Although postural stability is a complex topic, it dictates how you maintain balance and fluidity while moving through life. If you want to run around the yard with your kids or catch a football, sleep is your best friend.
7. Calorie Discipline
We’re all guilty of eating sugary snacks and greasy fast-food now and again, but sleep-deprived individuals are prone to overconsuming calories more often than their peers. Sleep regulates essential hormones that dictate our hunger throughout the day, and when we have subpar rest, these chemicals run amok.
Leptin, a powerful hormone in our body whose role plays a vital part in our body composition, sends a signal to our brain telling it that we’ve consumed enough food. For individuals who are suffering in silence from poor sleep routines, their leptin hormones fail to send this signal, and as a result, their waistline begins to expand. If you eat a plethora of calories and never feel satiated, your sleep may be sabotaging your goal to lose weight and get in shape.
8. Cardiovascular Improvement
Many of us have a fear of flying or experiencing a car crash while driving home from work in rush-hour traffic, but the real danger is something we never expect: cardiovascular issues and heart disease. Simply put, heart disease takes a life every 36 seconds, and it does not discriminate against age, gender or biological background.
With these staggering numbers in front of us, forming healthy sleep habits is the next logical step to take. Sleep can look heart disease in the face and say, “not today, pal!” Research shows that individuals who regularly get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night drastically lowered their risk of developing heart disease in subsequent years.
9. Blood Sugar Regulation
Diabetes is a global issue that affects over 400-million individuals from every country. From young individuals to elderly patients, diabetes can take a person’s life and fill it with painful finger pricks to measure blood sugar levels and excessive trips to the restroom.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way! Sleeping is a critical component for blood sugar regulation, and individuals who follow the dos and don’ts before sleeping reap the positive rewards. If you’re suffering from elevated blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, excessive urination, nerve damage, lacklustre healing or poor hearing, addressing your sleep routine is critical.
The most noticeable side effect of sleep that we often take for granted is how it puts us in a good mood. Unless you’re a crazy person (which we don’t think you are), you want to feel good and euphoric as you embark on your life’s journey. When we learn to enjoy each fleeting moment of our day, we’re capable of dealing with difficult situations, loss and challenging moments that force us to perform our best.
More importantly, being happy makes us appreciate the small instances in life that we skip over when caught up in the hustle and bustle of our day. From the moment our newborn squeezes our finger for the first time to the morning run that sets the pace for the rest of our day, being happy forces us to slow down and appreciate the small blessings along the way. And when we sleep deeply, we give space for those instances to exist.
As you can see, a good night’s sleep is essential for any person who wants to enjoy their life to the fullest. Whether you’re travelling the world, trying to lose weight and build muscle or enjoying mother nature’s beauty with friends and family, getting your sleep routine in check is paramount. Get the most out of life by hitting the hay and avoiding these dos and don’ts before sleeping!