Feeling jumpy, cranky or paranoid? It will probably be a poor night’s sleep. The importance of sleep goes much further than simply getting rid of those dark circles under the eyes and improving one’s mood.
A healthy lifestyle is a life where you get adequate and quality sleep. It benefits the heart, helps to control weight, and improves the balance of the mind and much more besides. There was a time when we actually underestimated the power of a good night’s rest. In 1980s Britain, then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once claimed she got by on just four hours’ worth of sleep every night.
It was the decade of the yuppie and the hard-working young professional who eschewed “sleep is just for wimps.” It was not, of course. Incidentally, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher spent her last decade suffering from an extreme form of dementia.
However, you may not have been aware that your mind is very much active during the time you are asleep. It is during this stage of our daily life that it purges and processes things like our memory. A poor night’s sleep means the brain does not get the opportunity to purge and process, so memory, sharpness and alert behavior are missing the following day.
If there is something, you want to learn, you do it by repetition. It could be the times table you were taught at school, the drivers’ licence program where you learnt the Highway Code or perhaps your PIN or password. A similar process occurs while we are fast asleep, and this act makes our memories improve and learn.
Getting quality sleep will also impact on how long you live. If you get the right amount of nocturnal rest, you could extend life span by around 10 to 12 years. Many ailments and conditions which cause us every day aches and pains can be attributed to lack of sleep. Do you suffer from back pain, neuralgia or arthritis? These conditions are often associated with inflammation of the joints. If you only manage six hours or less each night, it is likely you will develop inflammatory proteins.
It is also responsible for a creative mind. Sleep can be very beneficial to an artist, photographer, songwriter or creative designer. If you like being in that creative mind-set make sure you get regular quotas of shut eye every single night.