Healthier, Smarter, More Focused: Why Sleep Is so Important
We all know how it feels to be rested and relaxed after a good night’s sleep. Getting enough sleep is not only important for our mental wellbeing – it also has a lot of benefits for our health.
1. It strengthens the immune system
Did you think your body is on stand-by while you sleep? Nope: that’s when our system is in high gear, releasing substances that strengthen our immune system. There’s a good reason people say that sleep is vital to your health. Studies show that people who suffer from a lack of sleep have an increased risk of getting sick.
When we sleep, the body secretes a higher amount of the hormone Somatropin or Human Growth Hormone. This stimulates growth in skin and tissue cells, repairs tiny tears in the muscles (e.g. from running), helps heal injuries, and strengthens our bones.
2. A good night’s rest makes us more focused and efficient
Sleep makes us feel balanced and content. If you don’t sleep enough, you’ll be irritable and distracted. In fact, the National Safety Council points out that fatigue (along with alcohol) is the main cause of traffic accidents. An estimated 100,000 traffic accidents per year in the US are the result of driving while drowsy.
3. Sleep makes you smart
Whether we are aware of it or not, we dream a lot when we are sleeping. And it makes sense – this is how we process what happened during the day. The brain can then handle more input the next day.
If you get enough sleep, it also has a positive effect on your memory. During the day, your brain stores what you’ve learned in a kind of temporary storage. At night the information is fixed in your long-term memory. If you learn new vocabulary in a foreign language before going bed, for instance, you’ll retain it much better.