In our quest and propagation of contributors to healthy life, we have often related on the relevance of exercise and diet. Now it’s only appropriate that we delve a little into the crucial importance of sleep – or in particular a good night’s sleep. We have often heard about how sleep makes you beautiful and sleep deprivation creates haggard looks with dark rings around your eyes. Hence, the use of the amusing reference: “beauty sleep”!

Now, what have researchers got to say about sleep and good health? We have to reconcile with the realization that sleep is ever so important because it easily represents 30% of our lifetime. That’s how much time we should spend sleeping. To look at the benefits of sleep, these are the findings of leading sleep researchers:

                

Sleep actually keeps your heart healthy. Lack of sleep is associated with the worsening of cholesterol and blood pressure levels. It is also claimed that adequate sleep helps to prevent cancer. Researchers found that those who work late shifts have higher risk of developing certain cancers. Melatonin in our body which is believed to protect against cancer produces best in the dark. Hence it’s recommended that we sleep in dark rooms since light seems to reduce the development of melatonin in our system.

Sleep also irrefutably reduces stress. When you lack sleep you would be stressed-up, agitated and hyper. This increases your blood pressure and blood pressure has an influence on heart attacks. Sleep has been found to reduce inflammation and makes you more alert. After a good night’s sleep you would feel energized in the morning and ready for a brand new day. Researchers also found that sleep helps to bolster your memory. This, they claimed, is from a process called memory consolidation which happens when you sleep.

What might come as surprising to some is that sleep helps you lose weight. Naturally this won’t apply if you have a hearty meal just before sleeping. It’s believed that sleep impacts the hormones ghrelin and leptin – hormones which affect appetite. Remarkably, tests have revealed that people who sleep less than 7 hours are more likely to be overweight. 

Sleep also helps your body make repairs from damage caused by stress, exposure to ultraviolet light as well as other harmful exposures. It’s worthy to note that your cells produce more protein when you sleep. Protein is the building blocks of cells and allows for repairing cell damage.

Napping is also good for you and many older people actually need their naps. In a study involving 24,000 Greeks, it was discovered that regular napping helps to lower the risk of cardiac arrests. Besides being found to make you smarter by improving memory, cognitive function and mood, napping also helps significantly to reduce stress. Sleep has an impact on many chemicals in our body. One of this is serotonin. Deficiency in serotonin leads to depression. Rightfully, you need 7 to 9 hours sleep each night.

Most people can’t sleep peacefully because they are stressed up and there are many contributors to stress. Their minds are unable to rest and their hearts are weighted-down with anxiety and this agitates their blood pressure. There are some known remedies for stress mitigation and these include meditation and yoga.  Practitioners swear to their efficacy.

Many people exercise after a hard day’s work. Those who do also attest to the fact that physical exercise does relieve stress and make you sleep better at night. Understandably, this is because their minds and bodies have been unwound. Going to the gym after work is well worth the effort. But for those who opt for working out at home, there’s reliable equipment available in the form of exercise bicycles, crosstrainers, treadmills, workout-stations or home gyms and loads ofaccessories. Exercising at home provides you with homely comforts and flexibility.