With more time spent working from home in front of a screen, listening to anxiety-provoking news and perhaps less spontaneous outings to slow down the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, it can be difficult to have peaceful nights. However, like food, sleep is vital for our wellbeing. Indeed, sleep allows our body to recover both mentally and physically, and our immune system takes advantage of our sleeping time to recharge itself.
Here are six reasons why taking care of your sleep is important
1 - Sleep helps our immune system
Our immune system takes advantage of our sleeping time to recharge itself. A study shows that even a modest disturbance of sleep produces a reduction of natural and cellular immune functions.
2 - Sleeping well protects your heart
It is important to sleep well because a lack of regular sleep can have serious health consequences. Sleeping allows you to rest your body and therefore your cardiovascular system. Without a good night's sleep, the heart and arteries are constantly strained, which could lead to heart attack, high blood pressure or stroke. Indeed, a 2019 study shows there can be a causal relationship between insomnia (also known as sleeplessness) and coronary heart disease.
3 - Sleep helps limit the development of diabetes
4 - Insomnia increases weight
Sleep allows fat cells to secrete a hormone that puts hunger pangs to sleep. Poor sleep will therefore have the opposite effect and stimulate appetite. Weight gain can therefore be directly linked to lack of sleep.
5 - Sleep improves concentration
Sleep plays an important role in various aspects of brain function, such as cognition, concentration, productivity and performance. Our brain takes advantage of this time to organise and store new knowledge acquired during the day. A study shows that insomnia impairs cognitive and behavioural performance, while a good night’s sleep improves problem-solving skills and enhances memory performance.
6 - Insomnia is linked to depression
A 2005 study estimated that 90% of people with depression complained about poor quality of sleep. This has a major impact on quality of life and could result in strong risk factors for suicide.
If you suffer from insomnia and are concerned, please visit your doctor.
In summary, sleeping well is therefore essential not only for starting your day well, but for your overall health. Good sleep is one of the pillars of health alongside nutrition and exercise.
A few tips to improve sleep naturally
Keep a consistent sleep schedule
Create a relaxing bedtime routine... and stick with it
Turn off electronic devices before you go to sleep
Limit your caffeine intake
Make your sleep environment work for you
Use your bed only for sleep
Go to bed only when you are tired
Manage stress before going to bed.