For some people, 24 hours isn’t enough to accomplish all the things they need to do in a day, so they often forego a good night’s sleep in order to work, work, work. The satisfaction of accomplishment, however, is fleeting compared to the actual harm they could be inflicting on their health. Sleep helps mind and body heal and rejuvenate, and when this important health aspect is ignored it invites the possibilities of all sorts of health challenges. If you’re one of these people, stop ignoring your body’s desire for rest. When you feel tired, that’s your body’s signal to you that it needs to wind down and recuperate for the day. A good night’s sleep can help you feel more refreshed—and you might be surprised at some of the other side benefits.
Sleep Supports the Mind
If you’re learning a new skill, such as a new language, sleep can actually strengthen the memories or practice skills that you’ve acquired. It’s a process called consolidation. If you’ve practiced a set of repetitive skills during the day, something about the sleep process helps reinforce these memories or learned skills so that you have an easier time recalling them the next day. The more you practice and the more rest you get in between, the greater your recall ability. Being well-rested can also spur your creativity if you’re struggling to find a solution to a problem. It can also sharpen your attention span and boost your mood if you’re stressed or anxious because your blood pressure lowers when you’re asleep.
Rest Benefits the Body
Besides having emotional and mental perks, sleep is also physically good for you. People who get less sleep tend to have higher levels of C-reactive protein, which is linked to inflammation. Inflammation can lead to cardiovascular, blood sugar, and joint health challenges. However, most experts agree the simple act of getting more sleep reduces your risks significantly. Researchers at the University of Chicago also found that well-rested dieters tended to lose more fat than their sleep-deprived counterparts, who shed muscle mass instead. Sleep deprivation also causes hunger to kick in, which can be even more detrimental if you’re trying to manage your weight.
Something to Sleep Over
The next time you’re thinking about pulling an all-nighter, take a moment to consider the pros and cons. Is depriving your body and mind of rest really worth the cost of your health? If you feel your body getting tired, don’t resist it—your body will thank you for it.
- Sparacino A. “11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep.” Health.com. Jul. 16, 2012; https://health.yahoo.net/articles/sleep/photos/11-surprising-health-benefits-sleep#1.
- “Sleep, Learning, and Memory.” Dec. 18, 2007; https://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep/learning-memory.