March, for those countries that participate in Daylight Savings Time, means Springing Forward and losing that extra hour of sleep. The reality is, we sacrifice sleep throughout the year—not just that fateful day in March.
Many of us think of sleep as a luxury or indulgence—something that we give to ourselves sparingly or even as a reward. But sleep is a vital, often neglected, component of every person's overall health and well-being. It’s important because it enables the body to repair and be fit and ready for another day. What’s important to remember is that sleep affects your health and mental wellness just as much as exercise, diet, etc. It affects learning, memory, mood, and even insight.
Are you cheating yourself out of a full 8-hours of sleep? Here are some of the benefits you’re missing:
There’s ample research on the correlation between sleep and memory. In fact, most scientists think that sleep embeds the things we’ve learned or experienced over the course of our day into our memories.
Learned something new? Want to store away that wonderful moment from your day forever? Sleep will help you retain that information.
Lack of sleep results in a lack of focus, impairing you to remember just where you placed your house keys. With so much of our mood associated with being able to get through the day without added stress, sleeping might help mitigate the stress and increase your mood.
Just like with memory, a sluggish mind means lack of focus, and a significant drop in productivity and comprehension. In youth, a lack of sleep often can result in hyperactivity or even the ability to focus in school.
One of the most recent breakthroughs in neuroscience is the realization that sleep actually keep our brains healthy. Amyloid plaque is the sticky buildup that accumulates on the outside of nerve cells, creating beta amyloid, which is toxic to our brains and now thought to be the cause of numerous brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
So, how does our body rid our brain of such damaging plaque? Sleep.
There’s an undeniable relationship between sleep and those who suffer from psychiatric disorders: they often don’t sleep. However, by ensuring 8 hours of sleep a night, things such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and even ADHD often see an improvement of symptoms.
The verdict is in. If you’re not getting 8 hours of sleep, you’re not just missing out on benefits; you’re potentially setting your brain up for failure.
While these tips are helpful for people who are experiencing minimal sleep challenges, sleep issues can be an indication that something else is going on. In this case, it may be helpful to talk to someone. Sleep is an important part of your overall well-being, so make sure to give it the priority it deserves.
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