Sleep is good for your body, and feels oh so good! As our lives get busier and busier, our nighttime sleep starts to resemble a nap more than the 8 or so hours we actually need. Interestingly, especially regarding memory (studying for an exam, anyone?), getting one more hour of sleep is going to help you more than one more hour of study. So lie down, close your eyes and count these benefits instead of sheep.
- Helps with weight loss
- Assists exercise & muscle recovery
- Consolidates memory
- Improves logical and critical thinking
- Improves reaction time (i.e., more accurate free throws, tennis serves)
- Stabilizes your mood
- Controls inflammation, and thus recovery time from injury
- Boosts immune system
- Increases the multiplication rate of skin cells
- Releases higher levels of human growth hormone (HGH)
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Lowers blood pressure
- Aids smoking cessation
- Improves sex life
- Provides excuse to wear cute jammies (ha ha; yes, we wanted to end with a fun one)
Do any of the benefits listed above make you determined to get to bed just a bit sooner (she asked at 12:15 a.m.!!!)? If so, these tips to improving your ability to get a good night’s sleep may be helpful.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine
- Properly estimate the amount of sleep needed (for example, a 20-year-old needs 9-10 hours)
- Set a regular sleep time that includes your weekend schedule
- Minimize sound and light in the hour prior to bedtime
- Remove gadgets (or turn them off) from the room
- When traveling, force yourself to stay up and “reset” your sleep rhythm
- Pick a few nights when you can sleep in without any disturbance and note how many hours you slept. That is the amount you should be getting regularly
Now, sleep my little pretty. And your little dog too!
Identical twins and fitness pros Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA have been in the fitness industry since the first aerobics studio opened on the European continent. They teach, write, edit, emcee and present their programs worldwide on land, sea and airwaves. They co-write the blog and website Fun and Fit. Kymberly is the former faculty minor adviser at UCSB for its fitness instruction degree offered through the Department of Exercise & Sport Studies; Alexandra serves as an instructor and master teacher for the program, and is a contributing editor to IDEA Fitness Journal.
Fun and Fit answers real questions from real people, so please send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sleep image via RelaxingMusic on Flickr. Dorothy image in the public domain.