The Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep
In a modern world, where we are encouraged to burn the candle at both ends, the importance of sleep has been forgotten. Lack of either quality or quantity of sleep is one of the biggest health challenges that we face today.
As a general rule, we should all be aiming for between 7-9 hours sleep. This amount of sleep comes with a wealth of health benefits:
Sleep and Mental Health
A lack of sleep increases sensitivity to external stimulus and may lead to aggression, anxiety and depression. Sleep is therapy, and dreaming allows us to let go of the emotional baggage carried throughout the day.
Sleep and Mental Function
Sleeping before learning refreshes our brains ability to create new memory. Consequently, the learning capacity of the human brain declines as time awake increases across the day. In addition, sleeping after learning clicks the save button and commits our new learning to long-term memory.
Sleep and Cardiac Health
Those sleeping less than 6 hours per night are 300-400 times more likely to suffer a cardiac arrest- according to a study on 4,000 male workers over a 14 year period. This is due to a lack of sleeps negative effect on weight control, blood sugar levels and metabolism. Put simply, Inadequate sleep makes you more likely to be overweight.
Sleep and Alzheimer's
Alzheimer's is one of the most feared diseases in the modern world, along with cancer. Poor sleep is being recognised as a direct risk factor for developing the disease. Although the exact mechanisms are unclear, sleep is emerging as a new hope for its prevention. To date, diagnosis, prevention and treatment options remain scarce, despite the disease affecting 1 out of 10 over 60 years old.
Sleep and Athletic Performance
Sleep aids the bodies development of motor skills. Sleeping after learning a new physical skill cements your bodies ability to recreate this movement in the future. There is also clear evidence to suggest that poor sleep results in a reduction in physical training adaptations and an increased likelihood of injury or illness.