When you go to bed tonight, you need to change your conception about sleep and what it means to you. When you ask most people about sleep they will tell you that it is a good way of recharging the batteries, that they need it to reenergise them. While this is true, to a degree, the reality is that sleep is so much more than that. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that sleep is one of the most important components of your physical and mental wellbeing. Far beyond just recharging your batteries, your sleep fulfils a wide range of physiological and psychological functions. When you go to bed tonight, you need to understand that sleeping well will help you unlock a longer, healthier and happier life... no pressure!
So what does sleep do that can help you live longer and be healthier? Well, in a way the answer is ‘almost everything’! But that is not entirely helpful, you want specifics. You want to know exactly what it does and why.
Sleep and long life: A study has shown that there the amount you sleep each night is a strong indicator of how long you will live, with those sleeping around 7 hours a night living longer than those who sleep significantly more or less than that. In other words, sleep is closely connected with the length of your life. It can also make you healthier and happier as well.
Sleep, emotions and moods: There have been a number of studies that show sleep plays a role in regulating our moods and emotions. There is a strong connection between sleep disorders and depression, but even if you do not suffer from depression, over and under sleeping have been shown to impact your emotional stability. Sleeping well can make you happy.
Sleep and your brain: Recent studies have also shown that sleep helps your brain to wash out toxins, thus keeping it healthy. When you sleep the brain shrinks and the body flushes out the harmful toxins that have built up. These toxins cause a range of brain diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Sleep and your weight: Another fascinating area where sleep plays a role is in your weight. Sleep helps to regulate your appetite, as a number of studies have found. Specifically, there are two hormones that regulate your appetite, ghrelin and leptin. The former makes you hungry and the latter lowers your appetite. When you have a broken or insufficient sleep your levels of ghrelin rise and you want to eat more.
These are just some of the new findings that have positioned sleep as one of the most important components of your overall wellbeing. If you want to live a longer, healthier and happier life then you need to understand how important sleep is to almost every component of that life. If you are not sleeping well then you need to rectify this as quickly as you can.
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