Good vs. Bad: How Sleep Affects HealthSleeping provides your body an opportunity to restore balance to many of its systems. For example, your body works to repair your heart and blood vessels while you sleep. That’s why chronic sleep deficiency can be linked to stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Sleep also helps to maintain balance of the hormone insulin and the hormones that regulate appetite. Missing out on dreamtime can affect your body’s ability to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, which is why it’s linked to an increased risk for diabetes. Likewise, those not getting enough sleep may struggle with their appetite and put on weight.
Good sleep also helps to maximize problem-solving skills and enhance memory. That’s because while you sleep, your brain is forming new neural pathways to help you learn and remember information. The opposite is true if you’re not getting enough quality sleep. You may have trouble remembering things, problem solving or controlling your emotions.
Here are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep:
- Avoid caffeine late in the day
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule
- Create a daily exercise regime
- Start winding down an hour before bed
- Strive for an ideal sleep environment: dark (try a blackout shade) and cool (ideal is 65°—though your ideal may differ)
- Routine! Try a hot shower or bath before bed (discover the reason this works in our article The Science of Serenity)