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Sleep Better, Get Smarter, Live Longer: Benefits Of Good Sleep

Isn’t it shocking how common problems associated with sleep are today? Moreover, the sleeping pattern, lighting, work hours, sleeping pills, and the like, have wrought havoc on the whole process of sleeping well. Losing out on proper sleep makes you reckless, emotionally weak and over-sensitive, poor at concentrating for long hours, and just about certainly more susceptible to infections, illnesses and heart-attacks.

In such a situation, discussing the benefits of good sleep becomes undeniably crucial! Read on to know more.

Suggested read: 11 foods that will help you get a good night’s sleep

Benefits of good sleep

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Sleep isn’t only necessary for providing your body the much-required rest, but it is also essential for learning. Research shows, during our sleep, our brain works real hard to optimally save up all fundamental memories from the day before. The brain, while we are catching our forty winks, distills the memories from the previous day, and then separates them into chunks that are comprehensible. This process goes on at different hours in the night.

When we cut down on our sleep, we tend to learn less. We are also more susceptible to making tons of errors. We are less bright, make horrible decisions, dent our true cerebral potential, and our productivity levels hit rock bottom. Let us explain how.

Sleep has different stages, and each stage sees to a particular type of information.  Names, places, chemical formulae, dates and memories of other learnt facts get hard coded in the brain during our deep sleep at night. Typically, 20 minutes after hitting the bed, healthy sleepers fall into a deep slumber. They spend about an hour or more in this stage. So for those who have an exam and want to excel it, it is important you hit the sack early, instead of burning the midnight oil! Staying up really late before an exam might help you pass in it, but when it comes to long-term memory, it will leave very few traces.

There is a strong association between the amount of Stage 2 sleep an individual gets, and how well he or she can learn motor tasks, like learning how to play an instrument, such as the guitar or the violin, or competence in football, cricket, and the likes.

According to Dr Vivek Benegal, who has specialized for the last 25 years in treating young people with various addictions suggests,

“If you are preparing for a performance, a music recital or a sports event, it is better to stay up late than get up early, since people usually get their Stage 2 sleep in the second half of the night. The irony is that coaches wrongly tell their players to get up early.”

The REM sleep stage or the Rapid Eye Movement sleep, comes later at night. This stage is significant for pattern recognition. A proper REM sleep ensures that you get better at learning concepts, grammar or even mind games like chess.  When one is in the REM sleep stage, their memory juggles the traces to be preserved, seeking connectable patterns and hidden or missed connections, which help us make sense of the world we live in. This, in a way, could account for the sudden inspirations usually attributed to a good night’s sleep.

Suggested read: You should sleep without your underwear, says Science

Don’t sleep longer but better

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Thomas Alva Edison is not only remembered for coming out with the one way of inventing light bulbs, but 99 ways of failing at it. He is considered one of those people on this planet who have made the most effective use of time. But what amazes me most about this man is that he used to thrive at just four hours of sleep.

Once when he was asked about this, he explained,

“Sleep is like a drug. Take too much of it at a time, and it makes you dopey. You lose time, vitality, and opportunities.”

Sleeping longer won’t help you reap the advantages of a good sleep. Remember the days when you are successful at work or having a very fulfilling relationship, or were growing in your spiritual life. During these days, you will notice that you boomed in the adequate number of hours (8 for an adult). Oversleeping isn’t the solution but the problem. Often, when we are depressed or stressed, we use sleep as a drug that shields us from the pain of reality. We just want to evade consciousness for as long as it is possible. Also, when you oversleep, you will notice that you don’t wake up all fresh and ready to take on the world. Rather, you are all groggy, uninspired and guess what, tired.

Accordingly, the number of hours you sleep is not key, but rather how renewed your body gets during that period of time. Strive to sleep just 7 or 8 hours, but enjoy a richer and deeper sleep. Fatigue is a mental creation, most of the time, and it stems from activities and thoughts you do not like investing your time in.

So how does one improve his or her sleep? Read on to know more.

Tricks to improve your sleep, dear insomniac

Here are a few ways you can sleep better to reap the great benefits of good sleep. Remember these are drug-free fixes, since sleeping pills, generally, do not improve the quality of sleep of an average individual.

1. Keep a sleep schedule

benefits of good sleep#1_NewLoveTimes

Image source: Pinterest

And be regular at it! For a month, try getting up and going to bed at the same time every day, and yes, even on weekends! After the first month’s done, stick to the schedule, but try getting up without an alarm.

2. Stop using your bed for any activity other than sleep (or sex!)


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Make it a habit to not watch TV, work on your laptop, or read, in bed. This way, your body and mind will associate the bed only with the activity of sleep.

3. Develop sleep rituals

Deadlines at work, exam dates, marital conflicts, job crises etc. are stressors that make it difficult for us to sleep well. If you have a habit of working till the point where you sleep on your notebook itself, or keep your mind busy reviewing what happened that day or planning the next day’s events, it is not possible to flip a switch and just doze off. You need to take time before sleeping to shut down all the noise from the day. Having a ritual before your sleep like listening to soft music with a scented candle cheering you on the sides, can ensure an improved sleep.

4. Have a bath 90 minutes before your nap-time

woman taking a bath

Image source: Shutterstock

 A hot bath about 90 minutes before you hit the sack raises your body temperature, and the drop in temperature that follows, will put you to a peaceful slumber.

5. Indulge in a light tuck before bed


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Your empty stomach can intervene with your efforts to get a good night’s sleep. Nonetheless, avoid anything that is heavy as that too will hinder your sleep. Dairy products hold tryptophan which is a natural sleep inducer. So try a warm glass of milk before your nap, and see if it helps.

6. Don’t exercise at least 4 hours prior to your bedtime   

Exercising in general helps in getting a proper sleep. However, you should perform the workout either in the morning or early afternoon. If you do them four hours before your sleep, they will affect your rest, unfavorably.

7. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol at least 5 hours before your sleep

woman smoking

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The stimulants like caffeine, nicotine and liquor interfere with your ability to fall asleep faster.

8. Avoid watching TV just before you doze off

At least an hour before retiring for the day, switch that idiot box off. Watching a number of programs right before sleeping can have a wind-up action that does not help in building the much-required peace of mind.

Suggested read: Women need more sleep than men, says Science

Sleep as relaxation

Many of us use our relaxation as a run-up to sleep. That seems like a way of ensuring better sleep and sweeter dreams! But there are also many, who consider night-time as a nightmare, like literally! Remember Hamlet going all, “To sleep, to sleep, perchance to dream…”? Well, that rings true for many people who cannot sleep effectively for a number of reasons.

A majority of the people take sleep for granted, and wrongly so! We think of it as an event that occurs naturally. But what we have read so far shows that sleep has a number of advantages, and it is a part of the brain’s restorative process.

Recent studies have revealed that there is a strong relationship between the quality of our sleep and our general health. In one study, the experts studied the sleeping patterns of over a million men and women. The report revealed that people who sleep about seven to eight hours every night have lower early death rates.

So try to incorporate the said measures to build a more well-regulated, and sensible lifestyle. Give this some thought… I say, sleep on it, if need be! 😉

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Article Name
The Many Benefits Of Good Sleep You Didn't Know
Sleep doesn't only provide your body the much-needed rest, but it is also essential to become smarter and live longer. Here are the benefits of good sleep, in detail.
Riya Roy

Riya Roy

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.” This Isaac Asimov line, embraces my love for writing in the finest and most desperate way that it is and should be! I was tormented by the earnestness of the written word not very early in my journey. But once smitten, it has helped me devour life twice over; savoring the moment and indulging in its memories. As a flâneuse, I wander to understand the intricacies of human relationships. Realizing that, they are just different manifestations of the same feeling of love, has been my greatest learning. I seek to share its opulence through the words I type.