Why is sleep such an important part of a healthy lifestyle?Aug 31, 2023
From a young age we’re told all about the importance of getting enough sleep each night. And while the timeframes may change as we get older, the value of developing a healthy nighttime routine doesn't diminish. The quality of your sleeping pattern can affect so many other aspects of daily life and your overall wellbeing, so it’s crucial to do all you can to get it right. Here are three ways sleep can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
Cognitive and athletic performance
After a bad night’s sleep, you’ll probably notice that it’s harder to concentrate on whatever task you’re occupied with during the day. Maybe you find your productivity is adversely affected at work, or perhaps you become more easily distracted from your studies. Simply put, a lack of sleep impairs your ability to process information effectively whilst also affecting attention span. You’ll be less alert and therefore more likely to find it that much harder to complete everyday tasks.
It’s not just your cognitive faculties that’re likely to suffer as a direct result of poor sleep – athletic performance is also likely to diminish. That’s not to say that one bad night’s sleep will see your sporting prowess regress overnight, but there are lots of different aspects to high level performance that can be affected. For instance, both reaction times and muscular endurance will be negatively affected – two important faculties for any number of sporting activities. In addition, not getting enough rest heightens the risk of injury, both during and after physical exertion, leaving you more vulnerable to long-term health problems.
Supporting good mental health
There are many aspects that come into play when caring for our mental health, but research continually draws links between the importance of good sleep hygiene when managing this part of our general wellbeing. Ultimately, there’s a cycle that links mental health and sleep in that when one starts to suffer, the other is inherently affected as a direct result. For example, if we feel stressed or anxious, it’ll be harder to get a full night’s sleep. In turn, this can make it harder for us to deal with our emotions the following day and so on. If you are struggling with mental health you may find some good support here
As well as stress and anxiety, poor sleep hygiene is likely to bring on or exacerbate feelings of depression, loneliness and irritability. Forming healthy bedtime habits is a great way to break the cycle between poor mental health and sleep hygiene. If you struggle to get enough sleep and think it could be linked to your mental wellbeing, it’s important to seek professional advice to help you feel more in control of these pivotal aspects of your health.
Reducing risk of chronic illness
In the long-term, getting enough good quality sleep can contribute to reducing the risk of developing chronic illnesses. Sleep helps to reduce inflammation, which is a key factor in the development of a number of potentially life-threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Long-term sleep deprivation can also lead to weakened immune systems, making us more vulnerable to infections.
In addition, a good night's sleep helps to regulate hormones that control appetite and metabolism, contributing to weight loss and a lower risk of obesity – another major risk factor for chronic diseases. Of course, plenty of other factors also come into play when analysing the risk factor of serious illnesses, but getting more sleep will certainly support your long-term health and wellbeing.
Quality sleep for a healthier lifestyle
With so many different aspects of our health being directly impacted by the quality of our sleep, it’s important not to overlook this pivotal factor. To improve your sleeping habits, look for ways you can optimise your bedtime routine to help limit potential sleep disruptors. And if you still struggle with getting your 40 winks, make sure to seek advice from a healthcare professional.