We live in an era of stress, pressure and distraction. For many, life is a constant cycle of repeated actions, which must all be managed within certain timeframes. We are working long hours and in most cases, unlike past times, two wages are required just to make ends meet, so nobody gets a break. The cost of living has increased, but wages have barely moved, competition for jobs appears to be on the rise, so we must continue to study and develop. Life is relentless. If you have children, are a single parent or exist in a scenario of uncommon complexity, the situation becomes even more dramatic. Life has become a race and battle just to keep up. The current expected output for individuals leads to greater stress on our body and mind. Our health is being eroded slowly as we fight to keep our head above water. There is no time, or at least it can seem that way sometimes, so quality often takes a back seat, quality of work and living. Technology has us tied to phones, messages, social media, emails, computers, as we are bombarded with requests and further expectations. The relentlessness of life is of course going to have an affect on the people experiencing and living through these circumstances. One of the common negative affects of the current economic and social climate on individuals is poor sleep. How has something so essential, natural and simple become so complex. You just have to look at the number of experts now, working in niche health fields to realize that something is wrong. Why and how have the simple natural aspects of life become so complex and unnatural that they now require experts to fix the problems.
Sleep is one of the basic foundations of health and one of the most important aspects of life. We sleep around 1/3 of our entire life, if you think about that, it is quite profound. This essentially means someone living to ninety years of age, has really only lived for about 60 years, as far as active living is concerned. So pretty obvious that it is important. But why is sleep so important and what are some of the benefits of a healthy sleep routine.
Benefits of sleep
Improved physiological function- A healthy sleep routine means a better functioning body leading to better memory, concentration, a stronger immune system and improved overall function.
Sleep helps regulate mood- you are far less likely to have a stable state of mind when you are sleep deprived. Most people have experienced the affect of sleep deprivation, it causes one to be impatient and irritable as well as many other mood related issues.
Poor sleep compounds preexisting mental and emotional issues- Poor sleep can leads to worse depression and less control of different conditions.
Better sleep leads to greater productivity- This is obvious, just try to be productive with a few nights of bad sleep. There are plenty of studies showing the relationship between sleep and productivity. This is partially why the military uses sleep deprivation to test how people perform under the effects of poor sleep.
Improved physical performance- I can definitely vouch for this one having being passionate about fitness and exercise my entire life. The workouts I did off the back of a poor nights sleep, always felt flat and probably yielded few positive results.
Healthier eating- Yes, poor sleep leads to poor nutritional choices. We become more impulsive and often seek out unhealthy substitutes for food when tired.
Greater safety- Pretty obvious that sleep can lead to mistakes and errors. Sleep has been equated to driving under the influence of alcohol, such is the effect of sleep deprivation. It also weakens concentration and the ability to make clear decisions, which may also increase the risk to ones safety.
Greater mental performance and output- A good sleep means better results. Numerous studies have been conducted demonstrating the positive influence a good sleep has on general results. Whether it is an exam, test or training, you will perform better off the back of a healthy pattern of sleep.
Increased sex drive- Yes, sleep can hold you back in many areas and sex drive is no different.
Sleep reduces stress- A lack of sleep promotes stress in ones life. When you miss sleep, you are immediately behind and trying catching up only increases the load and stress.
As you can see, sleep can have a profound influence on your life. Poor sleep will weaken almost every aspect of your life and the quality of your life. This article really only scratches the surface in regards to the importance of sleep in our lives. More articles on sleep, still to come.