The snooze diaries: 7 health benefits of sleep

Excessive fatigue, stress, or idle­ness is a part of the stressful life we lead and only those who have suffered thus, can realize what the desire of much-wanted sleep may feel like.

Zee Media Bureau/Udita Madan

​New Delhi: Who doesn't like sleep? That's right, everyone does! That feeling of lying down in your cosy bed, closing your eyes and drifting away into dream world and then waking up all energized and rejuvenated. Ah, bliss! In this fast paced life, though, it's hard to get enough of it.

Excessive fatigue, or idle­ness is a part of the stressful life we lead and only those who have suffered thus, can realize what the desire of much-wanted sleep may feel like.

Though universally thought of as a great blessing, it is a mysterious thing. In moments of thoughtfulness, it is im­possible to reflect without surprise that man resigns himself to sleep so carelessly and cheerfully.

Sleep definitely makes you feel mentally and physically better, but its value goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles. 

What difference could an extra hour of sleep make in your life? Well, if we go by what experts say, then quite a lot! Studies show that the lacuna between getting just enough sleep and getting too little sleep may impact your mood, your health, your weight and even your sex life.

So lets start with listing seven health benefits of the one thing that people just can't seem to get enough of – Sleep.

1. Improves memory: It might come as a surprise but your mind is actually busy while you sleep. A process called consolidation is what your mind does. This means that sleeping can strengthen your memories or "practice" skills that you learned while you were awake. In other words, if you’re trying to learn something new—whether it’s a new language or a new sport—you’ll perform better after sleeping.

2. Longer life: In a study conducted in 2010 of women aged between 50 to 79, it was discovered that more deaths occurred in women who got less than five hours or more than six and a half hours of sleep per night. Too much or too little sleep is associated with a shorter lifespan—although it’s not clear if it’s a cause or effect, since sleep also impacts one's quality of life. Therefore, if you sleep better, you will certainly live better.

3. Spurs creativity: If you're an art-lover and love to get creative and paint or sketch, take the experts' advice and get a good night’s sleep before getting out the easel and paintbrushes or the pen and paper. Because research has found that people seem to strengthen the emotional components of a memory during sleep, which may help spur the creative process.

4. Sharpen attention: Lack of sleep can result in ADHD-like symptoms, especially in kids. Kids don’t react the same way to sleep deprivation as adults do. Where adults become sleepy, kids tend to get hyperactive. Our sleep patterns effect the brain, therefore, it is essential to get adequate sleep so that your concentration doesn't suffer and you remain vigilant throughout the day.

5. Have a healthy weight: If you are thinking about going on a diet, you might want to plan an earlier bedtime too. This is because less sleep means more hunger. According to experts, sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain. So, like the saying goes, you snooze, you lose! Weight, that is!

6. Lowers stress: In this time and age, stress has become synonymous with our lives. When it comes to our health, stress and sleep are nearly one and the same—and both can affect cardiovascular health. One negatively and one positively. According to experts, sleep definitely reduces levels of stress. It’s also believed that sleep effects cholesterol levels, which plays a significant role in heart disease.

7. Eliminate depression: You may have noticed that depressed people like to stay in bed a lot and sleep. Let them. Most people try to get them out of depression by taking them out, talking to them, ask them to go out with friends, etc., but the one thing that will actually help them out is sleep. Experts believe that a good night’s sleep can really help a moody person decrease their anxiety, since one gets more emotional stability with good sleep.

Now, snooze away!

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