As you laze around in bed for that extra hour of sleep this weekend, it is time to banish away those guilty thoughts about getting some additional shut eye. With increasingly hectic lives and a plethora of things to do from morning to night 24/7 , people start to cut out on the one thing they think they can do without i.e. their sleep. If you are one of those people who think that a good slumber session only helps you keep unsightly dark circles at bay or relaxes you for a bit, you are in for a surprise!
Getting an adequate amount of sleep is another crucial building block to maintaining and developing good health and overall well-being. It affects your lifestyle in a more ways than one and is a key element in both physical and mental health. Studies and research from across the world has shown how important it is to get a good night’s sleep and it is much, much more than just a mode of relaxation.
Let us take a look at some of the extremely advantageous benefits of sleep –
- It improves memory – Many of us think that once we are asleep our mind shuts shop and retires for the duration. But it couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, sleep and the quality of your sleep has a great impact on your learning and memory abilities. Studies suggest that sleep has an important role in consolidating memories (making what you have learned and the resultant memories stable) and also improves your practice skills. It is not entirely clear how but sleep helps you learn and remember things better since your mind is surprisingly busy while you snooze. And of course another aspect is that if you don’t get enough sleep you will be be groggy and tired and won’t really remember much in the first place and neither will you be focussed enough to learn and retain. Studies have shown that people that sleep less than 6 hours a night fared worse on memory tests than those that got a good 8 hours. It is no wonder then that getting a good sleep in before a big test or an important meeting is the way to go.
- It helps you maintain a healthy weight – You may be heading to a local gym or training for a marathon for a cause to help you keep in shape; but even the best fitness plan can be derailed if you don’t pay attention to your sleep. Studies have shown that the lack of sleep can slow down your metabolism to a great extent. It is also suggested that sleeping less than 5 hours can increase the chances of weight gain. Sleep deprivation has also been linked increasing hunger pangs and cravings for unhealthy high calorie foods. This could be due to the fact that the amount you sleep regulates the hormones leptin and ghrelin which regulate hunger. It could also work in the other way that lack of sleep leaves you tired and fatigued and in no mood for physical activity and exercise, which can further lead to weight gain. One study also showed a startling thought provoker that lack of sleep has a strong link to childhood obesity and also said that those people that slept 5 hours had an over 70% chance of being overweight as compared to those who got 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
Geting an adequate amount of sleep and a quality sleep at that, can do you a world of good. It has also been linked to better athletic performance, enhanced creativity and an improved sex life. So go on and tuck yourself in for a splendid slumber!
Maliya Tanner is a Psychology student and a fitness enthusiast. She loves taking part in sporting events like competitions and marathons for a cause or charity. She is currently working as a freelance writer to fund her student life.