The immediate benefits of quality sleep
Sleep and sleep deprivation are the topics of many a study, blog, news article and even movies. From sleep disorders such as narcolepsy to post-natal sleep deprivation, much can be said about the immediate benefits of good quality sleep on your quality of life.
We have summarised some of the most noticeable improvements to your daily life that a good quality zzzzz can bring.
- Clarity of thought
We all know the feeling of brain fog. That haze that overcomes you when you have just had a bad night or have regular insomnia. There’s a good reason for this. Sleep is your brain’s reset button. It’s the time when it recharges and forms new pathways which prepare you for the next day. It also aids in your learning processes – filing and storing information away, ready to be used the next time. Without enough quality sleep your brain begins to change the way it functions – this can manifest as depression, risk-taking, or ill-adjusted coping mechanisms, to name a few examples.
- Emotional well-being
Many a post-natal mother will tell you that sleep deprivation will impact negatively on an already emotionally unstable time in their life. Both quality and quantity of sleep affects your hormones. From cortisol to serotonin and dopamine, all of these and more play an important part in regulating many functions in your body. Your brain uses sleep to either produce or stop producing hormones in adequate quantities. So, if you’re not getting adequate hours under the covers, your hormones become imbalanced. This will change your ability to cope with stress and make you more susceptible to depression and even gain weight.
Again, a large part of your immune response relies on your amount and quality of night time slumber. Studies show that your t-cell count (your fighter cells) can drop and your inflammatory markers go up. Simply put, a lack of sleep will supress your immune function and make you more susceptible to infection. Having a great night will not only make you feel better about yourself, but will actually improve your body’s ability to stave off infection.
Driving your car safely all comes down to your ability to concentrate and your reflex action. We all know that after a couple of drinks at the pub both of these states are diminished. The same is true with sleep deprivation. A recent study showed that just 17-19 hours of no sleep was equivalent to having a blood alcohol level akin to having 2 standard drinks in one hour.
Having adequate and quality sleep will make you more alert, a better driver and lower risk to your safety and that of others.
Just one full night’s sleep (10 hours) will already start to repair the damage caused by short-term sleep deprivation.