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8 benefits of a good night’s sleep

Benefits of a good night's sleep

Our sleep needs vary quite a bit. For most of us, it’s around eight hours a night. You might find that you need more and don’t feel quite right after only eight hours, which is also totally normal. Or, you may have a rare genetic mutation which means that you only need six hours a night and can function perfectly well long-term. But the main point here is that you need a quality rest. There are many benefits of a good night’s sleep.

Why talking about benefits of a good night’s sleep matters

Most of us can cope with a few small variations. The odd late night might leave you a little tired and grumpy or have not affect at all.

As long as you go back to eight hours as soon as you can, it won’t do any harm. You might also find that you have the odd catch-up. After a busy week, a few sleepless nights or a heavy workout session you might find that you sleep for over ten hours in one night.

As a one-off, this is also fine. It’s just your body’s way of telling you that a little extra rest is necessary and it’s taking the chance to catch up when it can. However, if this starts happening regularly for no clear reason and you struggle to open your eyes after a solid eight hours, you should see your GP as it might be a sign of an underlying health condition.

So, sleep is important, and if you are struggling to get enough, it’s a good idea to try some home remedies like CBT for insomnia, warm drinks before bed, cutting caffeine and sugar later in the day or increasing your activity levels. But, why is sleep so important? What are the real benefits of a good night’s sleep? Spoiler alert, there’s probably a lot more to it than you think. Let’s look at eight of the benefits of a good night’s sleep.

1. Feel better

This is perhaps the most obvious and noticeable benefit to a good night’s sleep. You’ll feel better. Getting out of bed in the morning will be much easier, you’ll feel alert and focused straight away, and your energy levels will stay level throughout the day. Without enough sleep, you might feel fine first thing in the morning but find energy dips later on in the day.

Sleep helps to keep you consistent too. If you get lots of sleep but still struggle to get going or feel sleepy in the afternoon, try making a few other lifestyle changes like exercising in the morning, drinking more water, and eating healthier snacks.

2. You’ll be less stressed

One of the main causes of a lack of sleep is stress. We lie awake at night worrying about problems or dreading the next day. We spend hours tossing and turning trying to find solutions or dwelling on or worries. Then, the next day you feel tired and have trouble concentrating.

Staying up worrying never helps. You’ll never come up with a good solution or let your stresses go in the early hours. Even if you do manage to do so, you likely struggle to put it to the back of your mind. This will only increase stress levels.

Getting a good night’s sleep gives the brain a chance to rest. This automatically reduces your stress levels and makes it easier to spot solutions to any issues. Try meditating before bed to help you to switch off and stop worrying.

3. Remember more

Your brain might be taking a rest from worrying while sleeping but that doesn’t mean that it’s not working hard. While your body is switched off, your brain is getting a different kind of workout. While you are in a deep sleep your brain is in a process we call consolidation. This is when it strengthens memories and practices (or consolidates) the skills learned that day.

Sometimes we stay up late revising or practicing something that we need to know the next day. You’d actually be better off learning the skill, practicing until you were tired, and then sleeping to let your brain consolidate the knowledge.

4. You might live longer

The science on this one is a bit complicated. Studies show that people who sleep the right amount can live longer than those who sleep too much or too little. But, people that are ill often sleep less or more than they should. So, it’s hard to know if sleep is a cause or an effect.

But, we do know that sleeping reduces stress levels, promotes good mental health, and helps your immune system to work at its best. This can help you to live longer, so there’s no doubt that sleep plays a big part in living a long and healthy life.

5. Reduce inflammation

Inflammation in your body can lead to a whole host of conditions and diseases. These include strokes, heart disease, premature ageing and diabetes. This inflammation can be anything from gum disease to a physical injury. It’s never good. Studies have shown that people who sleep for six hours or less have higher levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood, making them more likely to be affected.

6. You’ll be more creative

Do you ever find that a creative block is lifted after a great night’s sleep? This might be due to the consolidation process taking place, or because your brain has had time to restructure your thoughts. It might even just be because you are feeling more alert and relaxed, allowing your mind to wander down more creative avenues.

7. Healthy weight

Weight is something that many of us struggle with. It’s thought that nearly one-third of the world’s population is obese or overweight. There are many reasons for this, including confusing guidelines and information, cheap and unhealthy foods, a lack of time to cook, and not exercising. But, sleep also plays a role, and getting more is perhaps one of the easiest lifestyle changes to make when trying to lose weight.

Studies show that dieters who are sleep deprived lose more muscle mass than fat, and those that get a good night’s sleep can lose up to 56% more fat. A common problem with weight is also eating late at night when we’re bored and have nothing else to do. Going to bed earlier can dramatically reduce this risk.

8. Fewer accidents

Driver fatigue is a real risk, and more people need to know that. When you are tired, your judgement is impaired, your reaction times are slower, and you don’t think as fast. This can make you clumsier and more likely to be involved in an accident when driving. Getting a good night’s sleep means that you can think faster and your reflexes are sharper. Just being able to make a decision faster can help keep you safer.

The tips above are helpful, as is seeing your doctor for further advice and support. Don’t put off making good sleep a priority. It matters a lot, as you now know!


Top photo credit: Kinga Chichewicz at Unsplash.

36 thoughts on “8 benefits of a good night’s sleep”

  1. I do so love my sleep! In fact, I woke up from a nap earlier today. Hehe. I try to get eight hours each night. If not, my brain and body are like, Yeah, you sleep NOW – at the most inopportune times. Hehe. I have heard that folks are more prone to depression and weight gain who sleep less. I’ve also heard that yeah, you get sluggish and less productive during the day. Lack of sleep can have an effect on pretty much everything. Our western cultures love the “always going, always on” attitude and people too often will say “I got four hours of sleep last night” as a badge of honor. I’d hear that a lot from friends when I was younger. Now I’m like, yeah, I LOVE sleep and LOVE getting plenty of it. Hehe. I hope you’re having a great weekend! Sending you hugs and thank you for all your informative writings. <3

    1. I’ve heard that about sleep and weight gain too, Cyndi! Just the other day my bf is like “you love sleep” haha – Well, what’s not to love about it?! I like that restful feeling after a long sleep. I don’t get it every night but it’s a wonderful thing when I do. Great about your nap time too <3 I hope your week is off to a nice start!

  2. I can’t remember the last time I had a good night of sleep :-( I nearly always spend eight or more hours in bed, but that it certainly not all sleep. My sleep is often fragmented, so I wake up 2-3 times during the night quite often, not necessarily for any reason I can think of either. The only thing I have found helps sleep a bit is drops of lemon balm, this is supposed to help reduce the mind’s activity. Also, lack of sleep is supposed to increase weight because one tends to make up for lack of sleep and low energy with more food.

  3. Great post, really eye opening ! I never realized that good sleep leads to better creativity, but now I can understand why kids are so active & creative !!

  4. I read in a post the other day (from a reputable source) that getting less than seven or six hours of sleep a night doubles the chance of cancer developing by 50 percent. I’ve slept around six hours per night for over a decade now. Who knows if that had anything to do with why I get sick, but I’m sure it’s part of the mix along with high stress levels. I keep aiming to get at least seven hours a night, but it’s iffy at best. My body just doesn’t rest that long at any given stretch.

    1. Thanks for sharing about that link between sleep and cancer. I know so many people who are running low on sleep… It’s tough to get that recommended 6-7 hours per night with busy schedules and minds/bodies that won’t want to rest… Hugs

  5. I never considered some of these points as a potential benefit and of course, how dumb not to consider! Touch wood, I have been the person who falls asleep within seconds of hitting the pillow but few years back, stress used to keep me up and it made me fall into a viscous cycle of low-energy, exhaustion and even more stress!

    Post on point :)

  6. Sleep is so vital to good health! Nothing can replace the function and purpose of sleep. It’s so important!

    Great post, keep crushing it Christy! :) :)

  7. There’s been a lot of studies out on the link between dementia and lack of sleep. This concerns me as I have a difficult time sleeping more than 6 hours a night. Although I do feel rested and energized, I’m not sure if it’s enough. Great reminder, Christy!

  8. Great points about sleep, Christy. I know I feel better when I get enough sleep, but I hadn’t thought about sleep affecting my creativity and inflammation risks. Definitely need to make sure I turn in on time tonight!

  9. Very informative post. In our crazy busy schedules we prioritise everything else over a good night’s rest. I definitely feel more energetic and productive after a good 7 hours sleep. Health is wealth and a giving your body enough rest is important. Well written as always!

  10. I think as I get older sleep becomes difficult. I go through times of sleeping well and then other times of being groggy all the time.

    …I’m waiting for the “good night sleep” phase to come back!

  11. There are several points here that I never really considered. The less stress is a given, but I never thought about being better creatively, reduce inflammation, and fewer accidents. Great points one and all.

  12. Simple Measures at Home

    Thanks for this! All good reminders. Also I’m so much more patient with my kids, and people in general, when I’m well rested.

  13. Hi Christy…
    Thanks for the reminders on the value of good sleep habits. Over the years living north with the changing seasons of long summer days and short daylight hours in the winter. Toss in working odd hours and the combination has taken its toll. I try and keep a tight schedule around sleep but there are those periods when it gets tossed out o its ear.
    Thank you for the reminder…

    Hugs as always Rolly

  14. This is so interesting, though.. I’m pretty sure I almost always get the required number of sleeps, and I THINK I generally sleep well, but I still wake up tired, stressed, unhappy, forgetful, and more. Wonder if these problems are more from some form of depression, yet even with depression, I sleep fine. Maybe I dream a lot and I don’t remember how much I dream right when I wake up, so it’s more about the quality of sleep than quantity for me?

    1. It sounds like your sleep quality may be lacking, even though you’re getting the quantity. Perhaps you are suffering from sleep apnea or another condition – or, as you say, it could be a sign of depression… To narrow it down correctly I would go see the doctor <3

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