Be honest: When life gets busy, what’s the first healthy habit that gets cast aside? Exercise? Healthy eating? Getting a good night’s sleep? While all those habits contribute to your overall health and wellness, the importance of sleep is unrivaled. From your brain to your bones, your immune health to your energy levels, your mind and body count on you to get adequate healthy rest. For adults, that’s seven hours or more per night — and you can’t “catch up” on weekends.
March is Sleep Awareness Month, so use this as a chance to rethink your approach to rest and review the benefits of sleep.
1. Sleep and healing
A common reason we resist sleep is that it feels like time wasted. But while you’re sleeping, your body is anything but lazy. Rest is imperative for the body’s natural healing process. Your bones, muscles and other tissues do the bulk of their regular maintenance work during sleep. No matter what you did today, your body will still need ample time to repair, refresh and recover. The importance of sleep > your to-do list (tough lesson to learn, we know!).
2. Sleep and heart health
The sleep and heart health connection is kind of like the “chicken or the egg” conundrum. The two are closely connected. Your heart and cardiovascular system relies on regular, healthy rest to maintain itself. And a lack of sleep (even for one night) can erode your motivation and energy to keep up with habits that promote heart health, like healthy eating and exercise.
3. Sleep and immune health
Sleep and the circadian rhythm have a “strong regulatory influence” on immune function. In the last two decades, research has piled up in favor of sleep as a way to support the immune system. The relationship is complicated, but healthy sleep (especially the earliest sleep each night) helps maintain a healthy balance in the endocrine system, which in turn supports immune system function.* In other words: Don’t wait until you “need” sleep. You always need it!
4. Sleep and stress
After a restless night, do you find it’s harder to keep from losing your cool over the little things? You’re not alone. According to the American Psychological Association, adults who clock under eight hours of shuteye say they’re more stressed than those who rest more. Like so many other aspects of health, sleep and stress are a two-way cycle. Managing stress levels can help support healthy rest, and making healthy sleep a habit is a helpful stress-management tool.
5. Sleep and physical performance
How many times have you heard “you’ll never regret a workout”? While this is usually true, working out when you haven’t slept can backfire. To perform your best, you need adequate sleep. Getting enough sleep can reduce your risk of overtraining or injury, and it’s important for building strength and endurance. If you have one of those nights where you toss and turn for hours, use tomorrow as a rest day or scale back. In this case, the benefits of sleep outweigh the benefits of exercise!
6. Sleep and blood sugar regulation
Getting enough sleep is also beneficial for healthy blood sugar regulation. And, if you find yourself craving carbs and high-calorie foods after a not-so-great night of sleep, you’re not alone. As it turns out, your hunger and satiety hormones react to how much rest you get. Spend a night counting sheep, and your body boosts your ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and lowers your leptin (the satiety hormone). This can lead to increased caloric intake during the day!
7. Sleep and brain health
Sleep is so important for your brain, and it impacts everything from executive function and balance to memory and focus. Did you know your brain processes short-term memories at night, filing them away in long-term memory? And similarly, the benefits of sleep affect us in both the short and long term!
There’s no time like tonight to renew your respect for rest — and learn the importance of sleep. Reach for your Hello Dreams™ sleep strips with melatonin and Calm Down™ herbal blend, and you’ll set yourself up for a good night’s rest.* Each pleasant, minty strip helps you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up rejuvenated!* And don’t forget your sleep mask to block out the light that can keep you awake.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.