Proper sleep health is critical in today’s world. With more opportunities than ever before, we need sufficient sleep to fully experience the world and all that it has to offer.
Yet, almost 20% of Americans report suffering from some sleep disorder. These reports range anywhere from minimal sleep deprivation to full-on insomnia – in which the person rarely ever sleeps.
The criteria for sleep hours varies from person to person.
Some people claim that quantity is all that matters, while others stress the quality of sleep, which entails sufficiently cycling through all the sleep stages. Many emphasize both.
Maximize Your Sleep Health – for the Sake of Your Overall Health
In this article, we offer 4 important reasons for maximizing your sleep health, focusing on why a good sleep regimen can benefit you both in the short-term and long-term.
Good sleep habits will keep both your mind and your body happy and healthy.
Increases your Happiness
Many people exalt sleep as the key to happiness. The evidence for this is twofold.
Lack of sleep effects the whole body and seems to be part of a higher likelihood for depression, which is a decidedly unhappy state of being.
Beyond the scientific evidence, this conclusion is intuitively obvious. Just examine anyone who is grumpy in the morning. It is likely that they did not sleep very well.
This is even noticeable in children who are often such beacons of light and happiness. Healthy sleep habits = happy child, which any parent knows is critical for maintaining their own sanity and happiness.
Additionally, people who get more higher quality sleep tend to secrete serotonin more throughout the day.
This neurotransmitter is thought to regulate our mood levels and is also involved in the production of melatonin at night. Thus, when we do get the right amount of sleep, it’s even easier the next night to get enough sleep.
Alternatively, we don’t get enough sleep, a vicious cycle results in which we are unhappy and find it difficult to sleep the next night. All the more reason to get your nightly 8 hours or more.
Sleep Facilitates Growth
REM sleep and slow wave sleep are two stages of the sleep cycle that are thought to regulate memory formation and learning.
When we don’t get enough high-quality sleep, we don’t enter these stages as often, and our growth is impaired.
Additionally, when we enter REM sleep, we often experience vivid dreams and imagery, which many researchers think is connected to underlying psychological health. Jungian psychology even claims that dreams allow us to integrate our unconscious mind with our conscious mind, and this facilitates our psyche’s quest for wholeness.
In this sense, an optimal sleep schedule is not only supportive but an indispensable element of our health, and without it, it is likely that we feel empty or incomplete.
Just as we need sleep in order to be awake, we similarly need to be awake in order to provide material for integration during sleep.
Proper Sleep Reduces the Likeliness for Disease
Sleep helps the body recover from the day and cleanse any unwanted cellular structures through a process called autophagy. Without this, our bodies are less efficient, which can lead to a lowered immune system as well as various complications.
So, why is sleep so important? Not to get too morbid, but without sleep, we would die prematurely.
Getting Enough Sleep Promotes Creativity
Many techniques exist to maximize sleep health and to prevent the negative consequences of sleep deprivation. While these techniques are beneficial on a secondary level due to facilitating better sleep, they are often enjoyable on their own terms.
One popular technique is to write in a nightly sleep journal, which can help prevent anxious thoughts from being bottled up inside of you. Many people who struggle with words like to even draw or color.
The key is to just focus on clearing your mind before sleep, as this will allow you to fall asleep faster and will lead to a deeper, more restorative sleep.
Some people even use the journal as a sleep diary to keep track of their nightly habits, which allows them to study their own sleep like a scientist would.
These journaling techniques often serve as the springboard for artistry. Many people don’t realize they are creative or scientific until their health demands it out of them. Thus, another reason to maximize your sleep health is that your new sleeptime habits might just change your career.
Our Final Thoughts on Sleep Health
We think the benefits of sleep are numerous and that maximizing your sleep health can lead to a lowered risk of disease, deeper growth, a happier mood, and the development of creativity.
While the techniques for maximizing our sleep health often promote creativity, the actual act of sleeping can also be viewed as a creative act, as dreams are often considered the most imaginative experiences we have.
Thus, the importance of sleep cannot be overstated, and without it, our life would not be as artistic, rich, and fulfilling.
Feature image via Premier Health