Sleep is an essential part of your body’s daily routine. It can help you be healthy, feel refreshed and improve your performance. It also helps you manage stress, and reduces your risk of developing mental health problems.
When you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s difficult to focus, get creative and even remember what you did the previous day. This is because your brain needs rest and time to clear up the information that it has been processing all day.
Besides helping your brain function at its best, sleep also helps you learn and improves your mood. It’s even been shown to prevent some mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.
While there are plenty of health benefits to sleeping well, many people may not know how important it is for their mental wellbeing. There are three lesser-known mental benefits of sleep that you should know about:
1. Improved memory and concentration
Studies have shown that sleep increases your ability to remember information. When you sleep, your brain uses less oxygen to do the same amount of work, which can make it easier to retain information.
2. Better learning and creativity
Studies show that sleep can boost your creativity by increasing levels of certain brain chemicals that encourage creative thinking. When you’re in a state of sleep, your brain releases a chemical called dopamine that encourages the release of serotonin and endorphins, which can help improve your creativity.
3. Helps your immune system fight infections
When you sleep, your body produces proteins and cells that help the immune system attack germs and viruses. This means that when you have a cold or the flu, your body has the tools it needs to battle infection and recover faster.
4. Protects your heart and blood vessels
A good night’s sleep can help your heart and blood vessels by lowering blood pressure, which can reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. In addition, sleep can help your body repair heart and blood vessel damage.
5. Lowers your risk of diabetes
One of the most surprising health benefits of sleep is its role in protecting against type 2 diabetes. When you don’t sleep enough, your body produces a hormone called insulin that can raise your blood sugar. This can put you at a higher risk of developing diabetes, so it’s important to try and get enough sleep each night.
6. Reduces your risk of chronic illnesses
When we don’t get enough sleep, it can affect how well our bodies recover from physical injuries or illness. During sleep, the body heals damaged cells and helps them grow back. This can prevent long-term illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease.
7. Reduces your risk of dementia
A study from Rochester University shows that sleep can help to remove toxins in the brain linked with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that the brain’s drainage system removed toxins twice as fast during sleep as it does when you’re awake.