It’s a new year and a time to resolve to make positive change in our life. And while most New Year’s resolutions focus on losing weight, quitting smoking or other lifestyle changes, few include better sleeping habits.
Getting a good night’s sleep can have a myriad of health benefits
Studies have found a link between insufficient sleep and serious health problems including heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and obesity. So resolutions for positive change to diet and life habits should go hand in hand with attention to sleep needs in order to optimize your health.
Better health and sex life
An international sleep poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that as many as 56 percent of American respondents’ sex lives suffer because they’re too tired.
Reduce Risk of Depression and Stress
Sleep impacts many of the chemicals in your body, including serotonin. People with serotonin deficiencies are more likely to suffer from depression. You can help to prevent depression by making sure you are getting the right amount of sleep: between 7 and 9 hours each night.
When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body’s functions are put on high alert, which causes high blood pressure and the production of stress hormones. High blood pressure increases your risk for heart attack and stroke, and the stress hormones make it harder to fall asleep.
Less pain and risk of injury
Many studies have shown a link between sleep loss and lower pain threshold. The more sleep a person gets, the higher his or her pain threshold.
Sleep deprivation results in increased risk of workplace accidents and injury. The Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) reported 852 workplace deaths in 2015 alone, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of claims processed every year for work-related injuries.
Better memory and clearer thinking
Sleep helps the brain process and consolidate our memories from the day. Those who are sleep deprived run the risk of those memories not getting stored correctly and instead getting lost.
Studies have found that people who are sleep-deprived are substantially worse at solving logic or math problems than when they’re well-rested.
Those who get enough sleep are less likely to be grumpy and are better able to control their emotions. This can have a positive impact at the workplace and in personal relationships.
When we sleep, the body produces more of the hormone leptin, which plays a key role in making you feel full. When we don’t sleep, our leptin levels drop, which can lead to late-night snacking and even overeating.
Stronger immunity to illness
One study looking at the link between sleep and immunity discovered people who got less than seven hours of sleep and were exposed to a cold virus were three times more likely to get sick than those who got at least eight hours of sleep.
If your New Year’s resolution involves losing weight or otherwise improving your health and well-being, getting enough sleep could help you achieve your goal—and a whole lot more.
When we sleep better, we feel better. Start the year off on a good foot and make a promise to yourself and your loved ones to live a healthier, longer life.