Getting a good night’s sleep is a major component of looking after your mental health. It can improve concentration, increase energy levels and reduce stress. It’s also important for regulating blood sugar, immune function and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Three Lesser-Known Mental Benefits of Sleep
A healthy body and mind is essential to life, but many people underestimate the importance of sleep. It’s a time when you’re completely reliant on your body’s resources, so it’s crucial to get enough rest each night.
One of the most overlooked benefits of a good night’s sleep is that it can boost your creativity. Researchers have found that when you’re asleep, your brain reorganizes memories and increases creative thinking.
It’s thought that this boost to your brain is due to the fact that your body’s hormones are released during REM sleep, which can help to restructure the information in your memory and make it stronger. In addition, it’s thought that the activation of your brain during REM sleep can improve your mood.
Studies have shown that sleep quality and quantity is linked to academic achievement. In particular, college students who sleep well are better at their studies than those who don’t.
Sleep also helps to keep your body’s immunity strong, by ensuring that it has the time it needs to fight off germs and viruses. It also gives your immune system the time it needs to recover and repair.
Your Heart And Brain Are In A State Of Deep Rest
When you’re asleep, your blood pressure and breathing rate slow down to normal levels, and your muscles are relaxed. This can help protect against heart disease and stroke – both of which are a leading cause of death in the US.
The onset of REM sleep is often called “stage 1” or “drowsiness”. This is because during this stage, your eyes dart back and forth behind closed eyelids as your body switches from a waking to sleeping state.
Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep is the majority of your sleep, and is characterized by slower brain waves than REM sleep. This is the stage where you’re most likely to dream, and it’s known as REM because the rapid eye movements are what make it so.
Research has shown that REM sleep is accompanied by activation of your brain in areas typically associated with mood regulation and emotion. This may help to boost your mood and improve your emotional stability, a recent study suggests.
It’s also believed that sleep enables the growth and development of new cells. This is particularly true of the nerve cells that are responsible for regulating emotions.
Insufficient sleep is also linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems like heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. If you suffer from these conditions, talk to your doctor to see if you need to get your sleep schedule in order.