You heard it as a kid, but it’s equally important in adulthood: quality sleep is critical to your well-being. Your body works hard all day long without you even telling it to!
That’s right, when’s the last time you asked your liver to detoxify the chemicals in your bloodstream, or told your skin to repair itself after it gets nicked?
All of these functions – collectively grouped within your autonomic nervous system – occur unconsciously, behind the scenes, regulating everything from heart rate to digestion, pupillary response to respiration and more.
While it might be obvious that your legs need a deserved break after being on your feet all day, or your eyes feel noticeably tired from staring at your computer screen’s blue light, you can’t really notice how exhausted your autonomic nervous system. Why? Because it communicates and commands with so many critical parts of your body from the moment you wake up!
Of course, even when you hit the sheets and your body’s lights go out, your heart still beats and your lungs still breathe, but your body is given the chance to recuperate and restore itself for the day ahead.
Without enough rest time, your body can’t operate at its optimal state – and this sub-par performance manifests itself across all aspects of your day.
Don’t believe us? Here are few examples of why sleep is so important, including tips for a better night’s rest.
When chronic pain calls your name…
“My body just isn’t what it used to be,” says everyone who’s ever experienced the symptoms of aging. Backs get stiff, necks turn sore, and eventually standing up becomes a lot more difficult than it used to be – let alone putting in the time to exercise at the gym.
Many aging adults experience chronic pain in one place or another that can seriously dampen any day. In order to find a little relief, people turn to taking routine doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs, like Aspirin and Ibuprofen, which opens another can of worms to more health consequences (stomach ulcers, we’re looking at you!).
Sleep can offset signs of aging…
But what a lot of people don’t know, is that your body isn’t necessarily just “getting old” – it might just be deprived of sleep. With more responsibility comes fewer hours in the day for much needed R’N’R.
You have to make the kids breakfast and take them to school before you go to work, serve dinner every evening, and make sure the laundry is done before morning so they have clean clothes to wear. “Sleep? Ha, what’s that?”
However, if your day-to-day is full of aches and pains, or recovering from the gym takes a century to stop feeling sore, it’s time to make a comfortable night of sleep a higher priority on your list of million-and-one things to think about.
Why? (1) Because your muscle tissue repairs itself overnight, so the longer you sleep, the less sore you’ll feel when you wake up; and (2) even if training isn’t the source of your tension, symptoms of exhaustion are known to make your body feel achy, sluggish, and heavy.
But you need to sleep soundly…
When it comes to where you lay your head at night, quality counts – after all, you should be spending just about 50 hours a week in there. Invest in the best, including everything from your mattress to your bedding to your pillow of choice. Seriously, they make a difference!
A bad setup is one of the leading causes of poor sleep. You might think pillows are a dime a dozen, but sleeping on the wrong one can cause stiff necks, acne breakouts, allergies, and more.
Similarly, and old mattress can lead to major back problems while bulky, unbreathable comforters can disrupt sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night as a sweaty mess.
Go the extra dollar with premium linens, a supportive mattress, and shredded memory foam pillow to ensure your coziest sleep and a comfortable day to follow.
Because its effects are more than physical!
The bodily repair taking place overnight helps you feel your finest, plus it helps to combat the signs of aging by increasing the rate of skin cell turnover so you look more youthful, too.
But it’s more than that: your concentration increases, memory improves, and happiness skyrockets when you have enough sleep!
So set that alarm and start inching yourself toward a few more minutes each night to reap all the benefits of being well-rested.
Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers of Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement.
We ask that every contributor and expert answer the Identity questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have written. In that way, and as a team, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiring you to Get All A’s.
What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, we’re not talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.
I have accepted that it is impossible to please everyone. I struggled for years to fit in with what I thought were the cool kids, but in the end, I was unhappy because I felt I could never be my true self.
Today, I now accept that to be my true self, as an individual, means that not everyone will like me and that I can’t please everyone. But I now understand that being myself brings to me the most fulfilling relationships
Appreciation is everything. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrast, are there elements of who you are that you’re still working on appreciating?
I have learned to appreciate my family more, flaws and all. When I was young, my parents had a very busy life and struggled to just make ends meet in our family. As a result, I became resentful that they never spent enough time with my siblings and me.
Now I appreciate them more because they worked so hard for our family, and I am grateful now that I can have a stronger relationship with them as an adult and have a truly fulfilling relationship with them.
Share with us one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.
The most rewarding thing I have ever done was when I decided to study abroad in Barcelona for a semester. I really felt like I broke out of my shell.
Being in an unfamiliar place where you can’t speak the language is difficult, but I gained so much confidence in myself that I can achieve my dreams in life. I still have a passion for travel. I would love to become a travel writer one day and circle the globe!