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10 Reasons Sleep is The Most Important Part of Your Life

10 Reasons Sleep is The Most Important Part of Your Life

Although sleep is absolutely necessary, many people have a love-hate relationship with it. In fact, it isn’t uncommon to hear entrepreneurs and other go-getters decry sleep by saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” That viewpoint may help them launch a new business a few days sooner, but it’s definitely not doing them any other favors. There are numerous scientifically proven reasons that you need to get a good night’s sleep, and ignoring this need can lead to serious consequences.

1. Sleeping Helps Prevent Diabetes and Heart Disease

Everyone has problems falling asleep from time to time, but if you are chronically suffering from a lack of sleep, your odds of developing heart disease or type 2 diabetes will significantly increase. With this in mind, individuals who have insomnia, sleep apnea or another complication that makes it difficult to have a restful night should consider talking to their doctor about getting a sleep aid. It is also important to note that regular exercise and following a set bedtime and wake-up routine will help.

2. Sleep Makes You Feel Good

We all know the glorious feeling of waking up after a good night’s sleep. Our minds feel sharper, our bodies have fewer aches, and we’re more physically and emotionally equipped to take on the rest of the day. Unfortunately, getting to this happy stage is very difficult for some people. If you struggle with falling or staying asleep, it is wise to follow some scientifically proven methods for fixing the problem.

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For example, a post on the science of sleeping suggests cooling your face, dropping the temperature in your bedroom to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and taking the rather unorthodox seeming approach of trying to force yourself to stay awake while lying in bed. Apparently, those who stare at the ceiling instead of having their eyes closed typically fall asleep more quickly.

3. Sleeping Helps with Weight Management

Have you ever noticed that you feel hungrier when you are sleep deprived? Researchers from Hendrix College studied this phenomenon with college students. They conclusively proved that a lack of sleep leads to an increased daily consumption of approximately 300 calories. This happens because the brain needs sleep to perform its best. When it doesn’t get enough, it burns through glucose, carbs, and other human fuels more quickly than usual in an attempt to keep you alert and fully functional. If you want to lose weight, eight hours of sleep should be part of your nightly routine.

4. Naps Boost Productivity

Studies by NASA and Dr. Sara C. Mednick have found that naps serve another vital function in our overall sleep needs. In fact, if you take a nap of at least 26 minutes between 1 and 4 p.m., you’ll experience a productivity boost of up to 34 percent. When you consider the impact that productivity levels can have on everything from your job performance to completing personal tasks, it becomes easy to see why everyone should be given a nap break during the day.

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You may not be able to get your employer to sanction this idea, but consider using part of your lunch break to help you catch a few extra ZZZs.

5. Sleeping Helps Your Immune System

Your immune system is constantly at work attempting to protect you from a long list of potential illnesses. You can help it have a high rate of success by getting at least seven hours of sleep per night. Sadly, those who are unable to do this will suffer from an impaired immune system that leaves them more prone to catching a cold or the flu.

One study even found that sleep deprivation following a vaccination could reduce the effects of the vaccine by as much as 50 percent. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that you get enough sleep if you wish to remain as healthy as possible.

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6. Sleep Provides A Cognitive Boost

If you have a big test or presentation tomorrow, the absolute best thing you can do for yourself is to get a good night’s sleep. This is because researchers have determined that there is a strong link between sleep and cognitive performance. When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain will experience reduced blood flow. As a result, your cognitive speed, attention to detail, memory retention and recall, decision-making skills, and emotional intelligence will all begin to plummet.

Even if you sleep a solid eight hours tonight, these issues will begin to show up approximately 16 hours after you wake up. This helps highlight just how bad of an idea it is to pull an all-nighter.

7. Sleep Helps You Age More Gracefully

Everyone has probably had the experience of looking at themselves in the mirror the morning after a poor night’s sleep. You may have been shocked to see that you looked rougher than usual, and this is not a coincidence. When you sleep, your body releases certain hormones that are essential for skin health and overall well-being. Failure to get enough sleep disrupts this release and could remove it altogether. In children, this can even lead to stunted growth. Therefore, if you want to look your best, sleep is one of the easiest ways to achieve this goal.

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8. Sleep Provides A Mood Boost

Perhaps one of sleep’s most essential functions is to help people maintain a stable mood. Those who have chronic insomnia often suffer from higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. Even just one night without the proper amount of sleep can have a negative impact on your mood and ability to deal with stressful situations. This highlights yet again why sleeping is a better usage of your time than late-night cramming before a test or any other big event.

9. Sleep Deprivation Increases Cravings

Aside from simply making you hungrier, sleep deprivation also causes an increased craving for food that is high in sugar and carbs. This explains why people who have a rough night without a lot of sleep find themselves reaching for candy that they might otherwise skip. Again, this usually leads to an increase in calories, and it’s another symptom of poor sleep that can eventually cause type 2 diabetes.

10. Sleep is Essential for Libido

If your libido has been waning lately, it is good idea to take a closer look at how much sleep you’re getting. This is because testosterone becomes reduced after a lack of sleep, which makes women feel less interested in any type of sexual activity. Shockingly, every lost hour of sleep causes a 14 percent drop in libido. Therefore, whether trying to get pregnant has become an unpleasant chore or you simply feel less interested in sex than you used to, you may be able to boost your libido significantly by adding one more hour of sleep to your nightly routine.

As you can see, sleep really is one of the most important parts of your life. If you’re having difficulty falling asleep, you may want to try one of the simple hacks that make it possible to fall asleep within 30 seconds. Your body will thank you for it!

Featured photo credit: Yesilist via yesilist.com

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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