Updated: Dec 31, 2021
Do you get enough sleep?
Not all of us do—but sleep is important. It’s a vital function that helps to recharge our mind and body, keeping us refreshed and focus when we wake up in the morning.
Sound sleep also helps us stay healthy, bolsters the immune system, and protects the brain. Mood and productivity benefits are simply an added bonus.
To learn more about the importance of a good night’s rest, keep on reading. This piece will outline the importance of sleep.
The Power of Sleep
Different people require different amounts of sleep. Most adults, however, need seven to nine hours of nightly sleep. Kids and teens typically require a lot more sleep, though the specific amount may vary.
Why do we need to sleep so much? Sleep helps to:
1. Strengthen your memory.
Though sleep gives the body much-needed rest, the mind continues to work at night. In fact, it’s during sleep that the brain processes memories from the previous day. This means that without enough sleep, your memories could slip through the cracks.
2. Prevent weight gain.
Now, you can’t lose weight simply by getting a full night’s sleep. Good, consistent rest can help you prevent weight gain, though. People who don’t get enough sleep end up with higher levels of the hormone ghrelin, which increases appetite, and lower levels of the satiating hormone leptin.
3. Increase your exercise performance.
With an influence on strength, power, and mobility, it’s no wonder athletes work so hard to get enough sleep. Sleep is also known to improve reaction and recovery times, and even hand-eye coordination. If you’re looking to get or stay in shape, you’ll absolutely want to prioritize sleep.
4. Elevate your immune health.
Immune cells and the body’s proteins grow stronger with enough sleep—allowing you to fight off colds, flu, and other conditions more easily. Sleep specialists have even reported that adequate, restful sleep can increase the effectiveness of many vaccines.
5. Improve your mood.
Did you know that just like with memory, the brain works to process the emotions during sleep? This means that without giving yourself enough time to rest, and without deep enough sleep, you risk throwing your emotional reactions out of whack.
Not only that, but chronic sleep deprivation also increases a person’s risk of contracting a mood disorder like depression or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) by over five times.
How to Get More Sleep
Looking to sleep longer, deeper, or more consistently?
Setting a realistic bedtime, and then sticking with it most nights can help. You can also work to create a comfortable sleep environment by adjusting the temperature and light as needed in your space. To go the extra mile, make sure you have the right mattress, pillows, and sheets for your sleep needs.
That’s not all you can do to craft an ideal sleep environment. Abstaining from caffeine and alcohol in the hours before bedtime, and refraining from smoking at all times, can help as well.
Other tips include sleeping with your electronics outside of arm’s reach, exercising earlier in the day, and eating a lighter dinner. With these strategies in mind, you’ll be on a path to better sleep in no time.
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