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  • Writer's pictureJodi Forestell CHN. NNCP

7 Reasons as to Why Sleep Matters

How well do you sleep?

It’s common sense that sleep is beneficial for the body. After an uninterrupted sleep session, you feel refreshed, full of energy and ready to take on the day. The importance of sleep goes beyond boosting your mood and energy levels. In recent years, scientists have gone to great lengths to understand the health benefits that sleep brings. Let's get to the benefits!

​1. Better Memory

Numerous studies have shown that sleep has a positive effect on your memory and allows the brain to become much better at remembering things. Researchers believe this is the result of a process known as memory consolidation whereby the brain recalls skills learned while you are awake.

2. Enhanced Concentration

Sleep is like nutrition for the brain. When you get enough of it, the chances of losing concentration during the day are much less. This makes you much more alert while you complete your daily tasks and has a direct positive impact on your effectiveness, productivity and performance.

3. Faster Muscle Growth

The body releases growth hormone and builds new muscle cells while you are sleeping. Not only does it renew and revitalize your cells, but it also repairs any tissue damage. This is particularly beneficial if you perform weightlifting workouts, as the intense exercises that make up these workouts tear your muscles slightly so that they can grow back bigger and stronger. Sleep provides your body with the platform it needs to fully repair these torn muscles and maximize your muscle size and strength.

4. Increased Fat Loss

Researchers have found that getting enough sleep can help you eat less and even accelerate the rate at which your body burns fat. Sleeping helps to regulate the levels of ghrelin and leptin in your body – 2 hormones that control hunger and appetite. It also stimulates the production of human growth hormone – a hormone which supports and speeds up your body’s fat burning processes.

5. Improved Physical Performance

If you’re an athlete who wants to improve your performance, getting good quality sleep every day can help you achieve this goal. Researchers at Stanford University ran a study on college football players who slept for at least 10 hours daily over several weeks. They found that not only did the well-rested athletes increase their average sprint times but also felt less tired and had more stamina during the day.

6. Reduced Stress Levels

When your body is sleep deprived, it goes into stress mode. Its functions remain on high alert which causes a spike in blood pressure and cortisol – the stress hormone. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attacks and stroke while being stressed has a negative impact on your mood and increase your risk of falling into depression. By ensuring that you get enough sleep on a regular basis, you can keep your body out of stress mode and stay in a calm, relaxed state.

7. New Discovery: The Glymphatic System (and it comes with a catch)

​The role of the glymphatic system is a new discovery in the world of slumber. The glymphatic system helps to clear waste from the brain and central nervous system, as well as circulate important nutrients like neurotransmitters, glucose, fats and amino acids throughout the brain. It’s essentially the lymphatic system of the brain (our brains do not have lymph nodes or vessels as there are in most other parts of the body).

An effective, functional glymphatic system works to keep the brain and nervous system healthy, prevent traumatic brain injuries and strokes, as well as hinder neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s that can result from a build-up from amyloid plaque in the brain. Sounds like a handy system to keep humming, right?

The glymphatic system comes with a catch: scientists discovered that it is turned on only when we sleep; it’s not active when we’re awake. Studies indicate that only one night of sleep deprivation can hamper waste removal and cause a build up of amyloid plaque.

My Top 4 Sleep Tips

  1. Go to bed and rise at the same time 7 days a week if possible. This helps to support a natural sleep rhythm for your body.

  2. Meditate or listen to relaxing music before going to bed and dim lights a bit. This helps you to shut off your day and get into a more restful state.

  3. Avoid technology for 30-60 minutes before bedtime.

  4. Read something positive or fill in a gratitude journal when you get into bed.

As you can see, there are so many reasons to enjoy quality sleep. So, if you’re not currently getting at least 6-8 hours every night, make some changes to your lifestyle right now, set aside the time for quality sleep and start enjoying all these benefits. Click HERE for bedtime snack suggestions!

In great health, Jodi Forestell CHN, NNCP

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