A good night’s sleep does a lot more good than just keeping your eyes open for work the next morning. In addition to helping your body ward off the common cold and your brain function better, adequate sleep affects your mental and physical condition in a number of different ways. We gathered 5 of the most important ways sleep benefits your health and included some tips for better sleep, too!
1) Improve Memory – Studies have shown that adequate sleep helps to strengthen memories made that day and mentally practice any newly learned skills through a process called consolidation. The process helps the brain stabilize the memory or skill, subsequently helping in the learning process. Lack of sleep will interfere with this process, and keep your brain from reaching its full functioning power.
2) Maintain a Healthy Weight – Getting enough sleep each night will also help keep your waistline slimmer, according to studies. There is a strong link between obesity and sleep apnea, and regardless of which caused the other, sleep apnea typically causes fatigue and a lack of motivation to exercise. Getting enough sleep keeps your energy levels up, so you can continue to be active.
3) Lower Stress – High amounts of stress are often what give people trouble falling asleep at night. This, in turn, usually causes more stress the next day when the person is tired and still stressed. If your fast paced life or high demand job has you in this cycle of little sleep and lots of stress, read our sleep hygiene tips below this list to establish a better sleep pattern and start sleeping better. You’ll soon find that those extra few hours of sleep actually reduce your stress and allow you to think through those decisions better!
4) Reduce Your Risk of Disease – Lack of sleep has been proven in various studies to raise the levels of c-reactive protein and other biomarkers. C-reactive protein is an inflammatory protein that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and early aging. Even missing just a couple hours of sleep can cause a rise in inflammation in your body, making sleep even more important as heart disease tops the list as the nation’s number one killer.
5) Improve Athletic Performance – Are you a runner? Do you like to swim laps? Whatever your exercise of choice is, more sleep will help you do it for longer. A Stanford study found that focusing on sleep as a priority led to heightened athletic performance in basketball players. Get in an extra hour of shut eye and maybe you can get in a couple extra miles or laps!
Tips for Better Sleep
Making sleep a priority can truly have some profound effects on your health, especially if you have been getting less than the suggested amount. For adults, 7-9 hours of sleep every night is the suggested amount.
It’s hard to argue with the numerous benefits of a good night’s sleep, but often, the trouble isn’t finding the time – it’s actually falling asleep. If you find yourself tossing and turning, try some of these sleep hygiene techniques recommended by the CDC to regulate your sleep behavior and feel rested in the morning:
- Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning
- Avoid large meals right before you go to sleep
- Remove all electronics from the bedroom
- Sleep in a quiet, dark room with a comfortable temperature
- Don’t use your bed for activities other than sleeping
- Get a comfortable pillow to sleep on
Adequate sleep has been shown to have a variety of positive effects on both the mind and the body. Maintaining good health is important, but especially for older adults. Long term care is an issue that affects 7 in 10 Americans over the age of 65, and heart disease, obesity, and dementia are all top reasons for needing long term care.
A proper amount of sleep each night is a step in the right direction towards avoiding these diseases and remaining healthy, mentally and physically. There is no surefire way to avoid a long term care situation, however, so preparing for one is just as important as maintaining your health.
Long term care insurance can provide a financial safety net that helps protect you from the risk of long term care and cover the cost of any services should you ever need them. We are happy to guide our clients through the different options and help provide them with all the information they need to make a decision about how to best plan for their future.
If you have any questions about what long term care insurance is, what it covers, or would like to request a quote, give us a call at 1-800-800-6139 or fill out our online quote form and we will be in touch with you shortly.