4 Simple Tips for Better Sleep + The 4 Health Benefits You Gain From It
This week, many of us set our clocks back one hour, meaning our body clocks have been a little wacky (anyone else waking up at 3am every morning?).
You know how poorly you feel when you don’t get enough sleep—but aside from making you feel more energized and productive, sleep also has crucial health benefits.
Recent studies show what your mom has known for years: Not getting enough sleep has whole-body consequences that can affect your overall health. Too little restful sleep has been linked to everything from Alzheimer’s disease to heart complications.
So how can you help set your body clock straight after the end of daylight saving time? Here are four of the health benefits you can expect after a good night’s sleep, plus four tips that can help you get a little more shuteye.
4 Simple Tips for Restful Sleep
1. Set a Regular Bedtime
Establish a regular sleep schedule (even on weekends). Going to sleep at the same time each night and rising at the same time each morning trains your body to sleep in a natural cycle.
2. Make Sure Your Bed is Comfortable
Make your sleep space your haven. This often-overlooked step is essential for getting the shuteye you need. Take the time to make your bedroom as comfortable as possible.
3. Increase Daytime Light Exposure
Bright lights signal to your body that it’s time to wake up, so try opening the blinds or curtains as soon as you wake up in the morning, and stay near natural light as much as you can throughout the day.
4. Be Smart About Naps
If you weren’t able to get enough sleep at night, take a 30 to 60-minute nap during the daytime when you have a chance. It’s a great way to give your body a chance to recharge.
4 Health Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep
1. Brain Boost
According to Dr. Robert Stickgold, information retention and skills acquisition work hand in hand with a good night’s rest. In other words, sleep helps you learn by enabling you to subconsciously process new information. Especially when learning a complex new skill, like a language, REM sleep (the deepest form of sleep) plays a significant role in long-term information acquisition.
2. Maintain your Figure
Assistant professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University, Dr. Sanjay Patel, notes that more than two dozen studies show that people who sleep less tend to weigh more. Scientists aren’t sure exactly why, though it makes sense that if sleep enables your body to function at its best, the effect could be as far-reaching as your metabolism.
3. It’s Called “Beauty Rest” for a Reason
It’s not surprising that getting rid of under-eye circles is one way to look more alert and attractive, but a recent study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that well-rested individuals are universally considered more healthy, alert, and attractive than their sleep-deprived counterparts.
4. Staying Healthy
Catching enough shuteye could determine whether you’ll need to cash in on sick days this year, according to a study by Carnegie Mellon University. This study shows that individuals who sleep seven hours or less per night were three times more likely to get a common cold than those who average at least eight hours of sleep each night.