The benefits of a good night's sleep

By: Racheal McCaig

© Betin Brkovic Author: Canadian Living Credits: © Betin Brkovic


The benefits of a good night's sleep

By: Racheal McCaig
We've all heard the expressions 'sleep on it', 'never go to bed angry', and 'it'll seem better in the morning'. But what's so important about a good night's sleep? Turns out, quite a lot. Here are 5 things hitting the hay will do for you.
Sleep aids with weight loss
Surprised? Sleep actually regulates levels of ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry, and leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full. The better rested you are, the clearer your head, the more balanced your hormones. Which means you're able to make smarter eating choices as well as being more motivated to exercise.
Sleep is a stress reliever
This one's a bit of a no brainer. It makes sense that if you keep regular sleep hours, you're better equipped to deal with any stresses that may arise. Just by being rested, you're automatically calmer. But sleep also increases blood supply to our muscles, allowing our bodies to physically recover from the day's stresses and the impacts of that overbearing boss who smells like cabbage.
Sleep aids with anti-aging
I'm not saying you'll go you bed Bette Davis and wake up Cameron Diaz, but when you're in a good sleep, your body temperature lowers. This conservation of energy means that your body is now able to concentrate its energies on rejuvenating tissue, growth and repair.
Sleep provides you with better performance and memory
Remember all that last minute cramming you'd do in school, pulling an all-nighter hoping to squeeze in that last fact or figure? Turns out your mom was right when she told you to kill the lights and get some sleep. Sleep relaxes the brain's frontal cortex. This is where critical decision-making is made. REM sleep is where the brain absorbs and processes all the information we've learned. This vital sleep stage aids memory storage and retrieval, as well as creating and maintaining an easily accessible database. Think of it as the file clerk of the sleep cycle.
Sleep brings you better health
Sleep it off? You bet. Natural immune system modulators increase with sleep, arming your body with a bigger punch to fight off any sicknesses that might come your way.
Sound easy? It should be. Yet we have so many distractions and variables that getting a good night's sleep can sometimes seem like a daunting task.

So what can you do to ensure a good night?
• With sleep, there's no such thing as stockpiling, so keep regular sleep and wake times, even on weekends.

Keep your bedroom cool and dark, and make it as comfortable as possible.

• Establish a bedtime routine to help condition your body to sleep. Read a book, take a bath or light a candle, but no computers or TVs.

• Exercise earlier in the day to facilitate a good night.

• Avoid food, nicotine, caffeine and alcohol at least an hour before bedtime.

• Go to bed when you're tired! It may sound simple, but we often ignore what our body's trying to tell us.

Now put on your PJs and sleep your way to the top!

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The benefits of a good night's sleep