Why Sleep Better? You Actually Do Work When You Sleep!

Mental and physical health are deeply connected. I introduced this idea in the last blog, and want to dive deeper into each separate area that can make a difference in both your mind and body.

This week, let’s talk about sleeping. Studies show that sleep deprivation can affect your body and spirit. It can cause errors on tests and challenges with paying attention. Since sleep is so essential to your life, it is researched often. Specialists are always reminding us to keep a room dark and cool, and to go to bed at a similar time each night, if we can, because these choices can reward us with better memory retention, more energy, and more resilience.

But what else do experts say?

Humans actually spend almost a third of their lives asleep. Researchers have drawn more conclusions about the neuroscience of sleep in the last decade than any other time in history. They have concluded that:

  • Disrupted sleep, over time, can cause cognitive impairments. This can make it harder to retain memories or think through issues and challenges.
  • Poor sleep can contribute to issues with your heart as well, especially because it can create added stress.
  • Sleeping and dreaming helps us sift through our daily lives to store important takeaways and details in our minds.
  • People can actually solve hard mathematic problems better when they “sleep on it.” Our minds work in our sleep to replay events and process their meaning, making us better prepared to confidently solve issues in the morning.
  • Patients who treat their sleep apnea often relieve stress on their hearts to such an extent that their cardiovascular heath improved significantly.
  • Good sleep can remove toxins, like those that can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and other wasteful extra proteins that we don’t need.

As they say, “health is our greatest wealth,” and all of this research shows that important work happens in our brains and our minds as we sleep. What can you do to sleep better tonight? Keep the same sleeping schedule, stow away your devices an hour before you sleep, get some exercise during the day, make your room comfortable and dark, and avoid large meals before bed.