8 Ways to Better Sleep and the 8 Benefits That Come Along with It

Are you a night owl but also have to wake up early to get your day going resulting in the infamous “just five more minutes” being your daily morning mantra? This article is just for you and how to get better sleep.

I worked late hours through the night and then dragged myself around in the morning like a zombie. But that was until I learned the importance of better sleep for optimal health.

Sleep is a necessity that we take for granted. Got a few extra projects? An all-nighter will work. Need to catch up with friends? A late dinner sounds just perfect.

Sleep is an essential tool that not only regulates your physical health but maintains and improves your mental health as well. The benefits of sleep are enormous. For me, I noticed improved memory as well as the dark circles under my eyes began fading.

But as I began learning more about the importance of better sleep, I was surprised to learn that sleep helps to regulate your calories as well. I noticed that after a good night sleep, along with exercise and a proper diet my weight was lower in the mornings. Want to know more about it? Read my article below to find out.

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Why Sleep at All?

Man sleep counting sheep for better sleep

Sleep is a basic survival instinct, and you can’t escape it no matter how hard you try. Just like you need a little break from everything once in a while, your body does too. Sleep is the way your body reboots itself. It shuts off all unnecessary systems and solely focuses on relaxing. Sleep also gives your mind some space and time to sort your day out.

Benefits of Better Sleep

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Sleep is required by everyone. However, you can only function well when you get a good night’s sleep. But what are the benefits of better sleep? Let’s dig deeper.

“Set aside no more than eight hours for sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least seven hours. Most people don’t need more than eight hours in bed to be well rested.”
Mayo Clinic

1. Sleep and better brain function

Benefit no.1 – it improves your brain function. Your brain is a major organ that works non-stop and doesn’t rest even when you’re asleep. It is the one that sends signals to your cardiac, digestive, and other such systems to keep working while you sleep.

When you sleep, your brain prepares itself and your body for the next day. Just like you need to prepare for an important meeting beforehand, your brain needs to prepare for the day ahead. This helps you learn new information and retain things better. Being deficient in sleep results in bad decision making and trouble controlling emotions. It has also been linked to depression and suicide.

2. Sleep and weight management

Low sleep messes up leptin and ghrelin, the hormones in the brain that are responsible for appetite. This makes you hungry even when you don’t need food. Also, lack of sleep makes your resistance to unhealthy food fade fast. But don’t rely on sleep alone to lose weight. You need to get proper sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly for such a result. Read my blog on Superfoods.

3. Sleep and muscle repair

When you don’t sleep, your body doesn’t get time for muscle repair and energy buildup. The motivation to work harder and better goes away as well. Your reflex rate will be a lot slower too since your cells aren’t charged enough. Proper rest results in your best workout performance!

4. Sleep and heart health

While you sleep, your blood vessels get a chance to rest as your heart pumps blood slower. When you don’t get sleep, your heart beats faster and faster to meet the demands of the straining cells. This results in higher blood pressure and cholesterol level. If you sleep now, it will pay off in the long run and save you from chronic heart diseases.

5. Sleep and emotional well-being

Since sleep deprivation affects the brain and many chemicals in your body, primarily serotonin – a chemical whose deficiency results in depression, a good night’s sleep prevents you from any such illness.

6. Sleep and stronger immune system

Since sleep is the time when your cells replenish, lack of sleep results in weak cells. The cells of the immune system, in such a case, will not be able to guard your system and an outbreak of bacteria will be unstoppable, resulting in diseases.

7. Sleep and better mood

As I discussed above, sleep messes up your hormones. Hence it also regulates your emotions. Your body needs time to develop responses to certain situations and generate fresh points of view. When you get enough sleep, you tend to have more positive reactions than negative ones, resulting in a better mood.

8. Sleep and improved brain function

Trouble sleeping results in low memory. You have trouble holding onto and recalling details. Since sleep enables your brain to make space for new facts, without sleep, it is tough to take in new information. Getting a good night’s rest makes your brain have enough time to store memories, facts, and compile thoughts which results in a better cognitive system.

7-minute meditation

Sleep Deprivation

a sleepy man in yellow crew neck t shirt
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As an adult, you should get between 7-9 hours of quality sleep. When you sleep less than 7 hours, you become sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation can be a serious problem over time. Some common causes that may cause sleep deprivation are,

  • Busy lifestyle and schedules
  • Sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or narcolepsy
  • Stress and anxiety

Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

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It is vital that you prioritize better sleep to avoid sleep disruption and its consequences. Chronic sleep deprivation can cause serious harm to your overall health and well-being. Some consequences of sleep deprivation include,

  1. Impaired cognitive function
  2. Decreased alertness and performance
  3. Mood disturbances
  4. Weakened immune system
  5. Weight gain
  6. Cardiovascular issues
  7. Reduced physical performance
  8. Impaired coordination and balance
  9. Memory problems
  10. Reduced sex drive

Tips for Better Sleep?

relaxed bearded man resting in hammock
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Now that we know what lack of sleep causes and how much sleep we should get in a day; it is time to talk about how we are going to get that amount of sleep. It isn’t as hard as some may think, but it does require dedication and consistency. Here are a few tips you can consider to get enough sleep.

1. Create a bedtime routine

Establish a relaxing routine before bedtime to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. This might include reading a book, taking a warm shower, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This helps maintain a set cycle that directly shuts down once it is time to go to sleep. Be careful to keep the same timing both on weekends and weekdays.

2. Create a comfortable sleep environment

Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Keep the room cool, dark, and quiet. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows that support your sleeping position. According to the Sleep Foundation, the optimal temperature for sleeping is between 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 20 degrees Celsius). 

3. Limit your naps

While short power naps can be refreshing, long or late-afternoon naps may disrupt your nighttime sleep.

4. Keep an eye on your caffeine intake

Avoid caffeine which includes coffee, tea, and even soda. Steering clear of nicotine will be helpful as well. These substances stimulate your body, causing you to be more active and disturbing your sleep for at least 8 hours.

5. Sleep and blue light

An hour before you sleep, you should turn off all electronic devices including any screens or bright lights. Quietly build up the atmosphere, signaling your body that it will be time to rest soon.

6. Manage your stress

Practice stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to ease your mind before sleep

7. Get regular exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity can help improve sleep but try to avoid intense workouts close to bedtime.

8. Sleep and diet

It is recommended to have a light dinner and a healthy breakfast. If you can’t do so, avoid any heavy meals at least 3 hours before you sleep.

The food you consume has a big impact on your health and lifestyle. Certain foods have specific nutrients and elements that help promote better sleep. Some of those foods include;

  • Almonds
  • Warm milk
  • Chamomile tea
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Walnuts
  • Tart cherries
  • Fatty fish
  • Lettuce

There are also other ways food can promote your sleep. Avoiding spicy foods, steering clear of caffeine as I have mentioned before, and avoiding skipping meals help you achieve better sleep. Replacing refined foods with whole-grain food also helps eradicate unhealthy sleeping patterns. Staying hydrated, exercising regularly, and not eating too close to your bedtime are healthy practices as well.

Key Takeaways

  1. Good sleep not only elevates your physical competence but keeps you emotionally and cognitively healthy as well.
  2. Adults should get between 7-9 hours of quality sleep.
  3. When you sleep less than 7 hours, you become sleep deprived and this can become a serious problem over time.
  4. Better sleep isn’t as hard to achieve as some may think, but it does require dedication and consistency.

Go to the comment section and let us know your thoughts.

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Earnest Robinson Jr Coach and Author
Earnest Robinson Jr

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One response to “8 Ways to Better Sleep and the 8 Benefits That Come Along with It”

  1. […] Make sure that you’re getting a full eight hours of sleep each night so that your body can recover, and you’ll be able to stick with your routine. Read my blog, The Importance of Sleep for Better Health. […]

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