What are some of the benefits of sleeping well and the risks of not sleeping well?
Why we sleep has been a baffling mystery and it is only recently that Science has made significant progress in understanding why we sleep.
Think of it this way- humans are an extremely vulnerable species. Especially back in the day of sabretooth tigers and cavemen, sleep was risky business. We don’t burrow to safety underground. We don’t rest high up in trees or have a pride of fierce brothers and sisters at the top of the food chain. Leaving ourselves unconscious for 8 hours a night, and the risks of doing this, show the absolute importance of sleep. But until recently, the benefits were not understood.
So what has Science learned about the importance of sleep?
I will split these into two categories. The ‘behind the scenes’ category, which we are not consciously aware of. And the ‘direct impact’ category, which we are consciously aware of and we can notice immediately after a night of poor sleep.
Behind the Scenes
- Good sleep has an array of positive factors which we might not notice
- We may get sick less often through increased immunity.
- Good sleep helps to protect against type 2 diabetes and evidence is starting to show that good sleep can reduce the chances of alzheimers.
- Improved cardiovascular health.
- Good sleep reduces inflammation.
- Good sleep can improve your memory as sleep helps with memory consolidation.
- Sleep has a myriad of other benefits on the physical body. A way to view sleep is as a nightly ‘service’ of our organs including our brain.
Direct Impact of poor sleep
- Lack of focus, motivation and therefore productivity.
- Lowered ability to control cravings. An example of this is that you tend to eat healthier if you are sleeping well. Thai has a flow of affect to overall weight.
- Poor sleep is linked to mood issues such as depression and stress. Our emotions and social interactions can also be affected.
And this is just the start. I am sure that over the next few years Science will make more enormous discoveries on why we sleep and how, by prioritising sleep, we can empower our lives.
Somni- empowering sleep