We’ve all heard that sleep is important, but what does that really mean? Turns out poor sleep affects every aspect of your health and well-being – slowing your mind, damaging your body and unsettling your emotions. If you’re missing out on healthy sleep, or only getting poor rest, many things will improve when you commit to making sleep a priority.
You’ve heard the term “beauty sleep.” Your appearance communicates, at a glance, your overall health. Good sleep provides essential maintenance that optimizes your well-being and, thus, the way you look through a variety of mechanisms. During sleep, your body increases blood flow to the skin, removing waste products, stimulating production of proteins like collagen and facilitating the generation of new skin cells. Sleep deprivation causes drooping of eyelids and the corners of the mouth, eyes that appear redder, swollen and more sunken, paler skin and more defined wrinkles. Healthy sleep habits can reverse the damage done by late nights; in one study, the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea resulted in patients appearing more alert, youthful and attractive to their peers. So consider getting plenty of sleep to give your skin a chance to rejuvenate itself and allowing your body the rest it needs to keep you looking your best.
Good sleep also helps you maintain a healthy physical appearance. Quality sleep balances the hormones that are associated with feelings of satiation and appetite. Poor sleep leads to overeating and, eventually, a higher body mass index. What’s worse, sleep deprivation causes your brain to prefer higher calorie junk food over more nutritious alternatives. This effect, as well as the increased inflammation tied to chronic sleep loss, raises the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Committing to healthy sleep can reverse the short term metabolic effects of poor sleep and, in some cases, treatment of a chronic sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea can actually lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Quality rest is tied directly to the biological processes that control your weight and appetite as well as physical performance and recovery. Restful sleep is an essential component of any fitness program.
The benefits of sleep extend to your mental performance as well. If you’ve ever felt foggy after a poor night of sleep, or maybe required an extra cup of coffee to get going in the morning, you’ve experienced the effects of sleep loss on your mind. Good sleep allows the brain’s waste disposal network, referred to as the glymphatic system, to clear out the byproducts of metabolism, keeping your grey matter fresh. Even a single night’s lost sleep can limit your ability to perform basic arithmetic and impairs your reactions times just as much as alcohol intoxication. A habit of good sleep preserves your ability to pay attention, make sound decisions and deal with complex concepts. Indeed, your working memory, the short term storage you tap for immediate tasks, is limited by chronic sleep loss, as is your ability to organize and form long term memories. These impairments in memory make it harder for you to learn new things, impacting performance at school, work, and even in sports. By getting enough sleep, you give your brain the chance to clean up and organize, leaving you sharper and quicker every day.
Sleep supports that part of you that makes you unique, without it you aren’t really yourself. Sleep naturally reduces levels of cortisol, a potent stress hormone, making you less anxious in general and preventing you from overreacting to daily obstacles. Getting enough sleep helps you keep your cool and navigate the daily personal and professional obstacles in your family and work lives. Good sleep also helps you recognize moral (and immoral) behaviors in others and, more importantly, yourself. You’ll also be more likely to pick up on subtle facial and behavioral cues while also boosting your nonverbal communication skills. Taking time to rest makes everything easier!
These 4 factors impact every aspect of your life. If you aren’t already in the habit of maximizing the potential of sleep, it’s not too late! Focus on making time to sleep, avoiding the things that keep you up at night. If you think you may have a sleep disorder, consider seeking treatment now. If you’ve been diagnosed, recommit to your treatment plan. Once you add healthy sleep back into your life you’ll see improvements everywhere you look.
Having Trouble Sleeping?
If you are having trouble sleeping and would like more information on how sleep can help you be the best version of yourself, please contact the FusionHealth Participant Resource Center at email@example.com or 1-877-615-7257.