Sleep is the wonderful magic solution to most of your body's problems. While leading a healthy life is the number one reason for being a productive and happy person, sleep is one of the most important things that you can do for your body to both recover and refresh your physical and mental well-being. Everything becomes easier with a good night's rest, including exercise, work, mood improvement, relationship conversations, weight management, and a generally positive outlook on life.
In this article, we'll explore the benefits of having a good night's sleep, the effect that sleep has on your diet and weight loss journey, how to fall asleep faster and how to get a better night of rest.
- What Are The Benefits Of A Good Night's Sleep?
- Sleep And Your Diet
- Fall Asleep Faster
- Better Quality Of Sleep
During sleep, the body goes through 4 stages: Awake, light, deep, and REM to put them simply. Before we go over what a good night's rest does, let's quickly define the stages:
Awake: The first stage of sleep is a period of half-wakefulness and half-rest, one that only lasts a few minutes and still has some "awareness" that you are lying or sitting down. If you are woken during this stage, you usually cannot recall if you were sleeping or not.
Light: This phase of sleep takes up the majority of the nap or nighttime rest, and is deeper than the wakefulness stage. You have no awareness that you are lying down and sleeping. However, you can be roused easier than in the next two stages.
Deep: Deep rest is the most important phase of your sleep cycle, as this is where the benefits lie. We'll go over why it is important to have an abundance of deep rest and its benefits shortly after this description.
REM: REM sleep, or rapid eye movement, is usually dispersed throughout the different phases of sleep. It can occur a few hours after your light sleep, and can also come back in bursts of a few minutes here and there. This is where "dreaming" occurs, and how a few seconds of your dream can feel like hours.
The health benefits of sleep are numerous, and most of these occur during deep sleep. For exercising in particular, your body's muscles and tissues are repaired during this type of sleep, which is conducive to proper muscle development. After a heavy workout, and with enough protein and supplements, these are the building blocks to quick and effective muscle mass and gain. On top of this, you will have more immunity, lower your risk for certain cardiovascular and blood-pressure-related diseases, reduce stress, and increase clarity. Below, we'll discuss how sleep can affect your diet and weight.
Sleeping has great benefits for not just your diet, but for your body's regulation of your weight management and other hormonal releases that aid in a healthy lifestyle and body weight. Firstly, the lack of sleep leaves you to rely on substances such as sugar, caffeine, and other fatty or "comfort" foods to seek a spike in mental clarity and energy levels. While this may resolve the short-term issues, it is no substitute for a good night's sleep. It is also worth mentioning that these foods are usually extremely high in calories or additives, which are not great for your body or your weight-loss journey.
Sleep also helps to regulate your metabolism, as a healthy body burns the proper amount of calories necessary to sustain a workout, your daily activities, or the mental concentration to get through a day of stressful work. This is the reason that if a person who gets 7-9 hours of quality sleep regularly eats as many calories as one who does not, they will not gain as much weight or deposit as many fat reserves as the other.
While many medications can help you sleep, nothing can beat a good night's rest from a natural routine, or even some natural supplements. Over 50 million Americans can suffer from regular sleep issues, so it is important to invest in your quality of sleep. These supplements do not always need to be taken in pills, you can also brew certain teas to help you fall asleep, such as chamomile, lemongrass, and valerian root.
Falling asleep has much to do with a regular schedule. Here are some modifications you can do to fall asleep faster:
- Keep a cool temperature in your room.
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every night, regardless of the day of the week.
- Get exposure to sunlight as soon as you wake up to reset your circadian rhythm.
- Eat nutritious meals throughout the day
- Follow a consistent workout routine
- Breathe deeply for 12-15 reps.
- Limit exposure to screens 2 hours before bedtime
Falling asleep does not necessarily mean you are getting enough deep rest. Here are some things to avoid to make the most of your resting hours:
- Alcohol before bed
- Blue light exposure
- Keep your room for sleep and sex only
- Block all sources of light and noise in your room
- Develop a habit of clearing your head 2 hours before sleeping
How does sleep affect the brain?
The brain is a complicated device that has been developed to keep us healthy and survive. Without restful sleep, we do not clear the mental "fog" in our frontal lobes, which reduces our reaction time as well as our mood. This is why you aren't productive when sleep-deprived.
What sleeping position is best?
The sleeping position should come second to restful sleep. The best sleeping position is the one where you are most comfortable. However, sleeping on your left side with your knees bent has the most benefits for your posture and bodily functions during rest.
Can sleep deprivation harm you?
You cannot die from a lack of sleep, but your body will be exponentially less alert with each night that you do not get proper rest. This affects your mood, metabolism, and hormonal control of your body. The severe reduction of caution when performing any action increases your risk of injury or accidents.