There is a lot of attention on social media about topics related to sports and how great they are for our health. Sure, exercising is very important. But do you know what else is important? Resting for a good amount of hours. In other words, sleeping.
Before I give you a brief rundown on the numerous benefits of sleeping, let me share with you why humans sleep in the first place. From an evolutionary perspective, our ancestors lived in the wild and were most vulnerable to dangers of wild animals at night. In order to limit their encounters with predators that have better night vision, they presumed that staying put in one place and making the least possible noise is more likely to keep them off of harm’s way, at least until the sun was up again and they were in better control of their settings. With time, this state of slumber became a habit that provided early humans with rest and preserved their energy for survival. This mode of rest is then passed down to all generations afterwards. Even though scientists cannot fully prove the accuracy of such a theory, the biological perspective remains undisputable. Sleeping regulates hormone secretion, repairs cells, and allows skin and organs to heal from stress and oxidation, to state a few.
The importance of sleep is demonstrated by the effects of lack of sleep. In fact, when an individual is sleep deprived, the brain creates a toxic protein called beta amyloid which damages the brain cells and lessens their ability to make effective connections that, in turn, lead to mental lapses and an inability to retain new information. On the long term, the body would suffer damage to the immune system, heightened levels of stress, risks of cardio vascular diseases, and an increased appetite that leads to weight gain.
Regular sleep is essential to have a healthy lifestyle, so here are a few tips in order to make sure your body gets the best conditions for its rest:
- Keep it regular: try to sleep and wake up at the same time.
- Sleep at a cool temperature of about 18 degrees Celsius.
- Replace scrolling on your phone with reading a book in order to minimize exposure to light.
- Don’t drink or eat in bed because your brain will associate your bedroom with wakefulness.
- Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages after 2 pm as it leads to distorted sleep cycles.
With today’s busy and stressful lifestyles, resting our minds and bodies is just asimportant to leading healthier lives.
- Hussein Youness
Civil Engineering Student