The Big Benefits of Sleep

We are told from a very young age that we must get our sleep. We hear, “It’s bedtime” and “You don’t want to be tired tomorrow.” And as we grow older, we hear all about the importance of getting a “full eight hours” each night. But why is that? Why do humans need to sleep? And is it really as important as our parents said it was (or did they just want some quiet time)?

The short answer is—Yes, it really is that important. Sleep is one of the very best things we can do for both our minds and bodies. Sleep, along with eating right, regular exercise, and drinking plenty of water are key components to living a clean, healthy lifestyle.

What are some of the benefits of sleep?

Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night helps our minds function better, regulates our emotions, and allows our bodies to rest, repair, and restructure. And it’s not just for athletes or those who are ill (but especially important for both). We all use energy each day going about our daily lives, and only when we sleep do we give our bodies and minds the much-needed rest they require to recharge that energy.

Further, there are physical effects as our heads rest comfortably on our pillows, our minds dreaming peacefully away. Our heart rates, blood pressure, and glucose levels all decrease, promoting a healthy heart and blood sugar levels that can help prevent long term health issues, such as heart disease. Sleeping and feeling rested can also ease irritability and reduce anxiety by allowing us to better process our emotions. And for those workaholics who think staying up all night to work is in their best interests, think again. Your concentration, problem-solving skills, focus, and creativity are all improved with sleep. So, if you really want to be productive, put the computer away and get some rest!

What’s the harm in not sleeping enough?

When we don’t get enough sleep, we are not only tired, but overwhelmed, leading to increased stress and decreased reaction times. We are also hungrier because our brains and metabolism are active for longer periods of time, resulting in poor eating choices and late-night snacking that could negatively impact weight and health. Additionally, since we did not allow our heart and mind to fully rest, our bodies become prone to infections. A lack of sleep also triggers mood disorders, feelings of panic, and unsafe driving decisions.

How do you ensure a good night’s sleep?

While there are many recommendations to help us get the sleep we need, the following are the top four ways to truly get those ZZZs:

  1. Maintain a steady sleep schedule. Sticking to a regular bedtime ritual, including a consistent time each night, allows our bodies fall into a natural rhythm. Similarly, waking up at the same time each day—yes, even on weekends—is also important. While sleeping in on the weekends can be tempting, it can actually have a negative impact on our brain functions and throw us off for the week ahead.
  2. Avoid stimulants in the evening. Stimulants, like caffeine, hinder our quality of sleep if consumed too late in the day. If we drink caffeinated drinks or take caffeine supplements late in the afternoon or in the evening, we will be less likely to fall asleep at our desired bedtime. We will also have a much harder time staying asleep throughout the night.
  3. Create the perfect sleep environment. An ideal sleep environment includes making sure the room is cool, quiet, and dark. Some like ear plugs, while others prefer soothing sounds from an app. Some like an eye-mask or black out curtains. And still others find weighted blankets work best for them. Additionally, limiting any blue-light devices at night is important to falling, and staying, asleep. To do so, try setting a turn-off time for cell phones, tablets, computers, and other blue-light electronics.
  4. Get comfy … and some support. Finding a great mattress and an even greater pillow is optimal for better sleep. Mattresses can be a rather expensive investment, but the long-term benefits of the right one is money well spent. At the same time, we should pay more attention to the pillow or pillows we have under our heads. The right pillow is not only comfortable, but it plays a huge role in how our head, neck, spine, and even hips align while sleeping. It can also reduce or even eliminate joint pain.

Our friends at Nikken fully understand the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. As such, they’ve developed the Kenko Naturest® Fit to place on top of your mattress and also recently introduced the Kenko Naturest® Makura (Japanese for pillow)—a revolutionary innovation in sleep technology. It even has three layers that are each removable, so it can be customized to personal preferences. And when it’s time to wash the sheets, Norwex recently released the newest addition to its laundry collection, Eco-Wash Laundry Detergent Strips—eco-friendly, ultra-concentrated cleaning with no mess and plastic-free packaging. So, you can rest even easier at night.

Ultimately, it seems our parents were right after all (and we are right for telling our children the same)—getting enough sleep is important, not just tomorrow, but for the rest of our lives. Sleep helps us maintain a healthy lifestyle and promotes positive mental health—after all, who could argue with that?

For more information about clean eating and living, please schedule a call. Together, we can navigate your journey to an even better version of you in a far better environment.

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