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10 Benefits of Sleep You’re Not Aware of

10 Benefits of Sleep You’re Not Aware of

I wish sleep was unnecessary. If I could forgo my shuteye andwork through the night, I would be unstoppable: imagine all the stuff that would get done! But this workaholic desire will never become a reality, because when I don’t get enough sleep, nasty consequences follow.I nodded offduring a drivehome from a musical festival last year (fortunately Isnapped awakemere seconds before a semi truck would have plowed straight through my car). And I’m too embarrassed to admit the number of movies, plays, and college classes I have dozed off during because I found myself in a dark room while being burdened by a substantial sleep debt(let’s just call it “expensive nap-time?”). As nice it would be to have an extra 6-8 hours per night, the benefits of sleep cannot be denied. If you’re looking for a good reason to improve your quality of sleep (or an excuse to take a nap after you finish this article), keep on reading.

1. Improve your brain power.

Just because you’re asleep doesn’t mean your brain isn’t busy behind the scenes. Have you ever felt panicked the night before an exam because you couldn’t recall any of the material you were cramming in, but then the next morning you woke up to discover a staggering difference in your ability to remember? If so, this happened because your brain strengthens your memories while you sleep. Whether you’re learning a new language, studying for a test, or exploring a new hobby, expect to perform better after a good night’s sleep.

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2. Enjoy more (and better) sex.

A study by the National Sleep Foundation discovered an alarming trend among Americans: one out of every four adults married to or living with a partner say they are often “so sleep-deprived that they are too tired to have sex.” Theexcuse “too tired to have sex” shouldn’t even exist, soplease improve your sleep (for the sake of your sex life!).

3. Lose weight while you sleep.

Several studiespoint in the direction of aconnection between a poor night’s sleep and weight gain. A recent study by the American Heart Associationfound that the sleep-deprived participants ate an average of 549 additional calories more than the control group (who slept an additional hour and twenty minutes).

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4.Increased safety on the road.

A lack of sleep could lead to danger. According to a study by the American Automobile Association, 1 out of 6 deadly traffic accidents are due to drowsy driving. If you can help it, please don’t get behind the wheel when you’re so sleepy you can barely hold your head up. The signs of drowsy driving include drifting into another lane, frequent blinking, and lapses of concentration (i.e. when you realize you’re 10-20 miles farther and you didn’t even notice the journey).

5. Stay calm and cool at work.

While you shouldn’t numb yourself to feeling emotions, that doesn’t mean you should have a shouting match with a co-worker or boss. Surely you’ve noticed that a horrible night of sleep has a way of making you feel horrible (imagine!). The worse you feel, the more likely you are to lose your cool when faced with stressful situations.

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6. Improve your athletic performance.

A study by the Stanford School of Medicinesuggests that sleep could help athletes improve their performance. The college basketball players began the study by making no changes to their sleep schedule for 2-4 weeks. They were then asked to aim for 10 hours of sleep for the following 5-7 weeks. The well-rested athletes improved their speed, their free throw accuracy by 9%, their 3-point field goal accuracy by 9.2%, and their in-game performance.

7. Get more done in less time.

The irony of being “too busy to sleep”: neglecting to give your body the rest it needs merely makes it more difficult to pay attention (meaning it will take you longer to complete the task at hand).

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8. Reduce stress.

Are you having a hard time sleeping because you’re stressed, or are you stressed because you’re having a hard time sleeping? Your quality of sleep and level of stress are so closely related that it can be hard to tell the difference, but the fact remains: a good night of shuteye will help you get rid of the nasty mental monsters living inside your thoughts. If you manage your stress, you can also look forward to improved heart health and blood pressure levels.

9. Boost immunity from sickness.

Want to avoid getting a cold or flu now that sweater weather is upon us? If so, get comfy under that blanket, because sleeping will help you stay healthy this fall and winter. A study by the Archives of Internal Medicinefound that individuals sleeping less than 7 hours per night were 3 times more likely to get a cold than those who slept 8 or more.

10. It justfeels good.

Your body needs sleep to survive (and anything you need to survive feels good when you need it).Think abouthow it feels when you get busy and have todelay a meal for several hours later than usual. Sure, your stomach gets grumpy and hungry, but isn’t that first bite delicious? Your body feels the same way about sleep when it needs rest. Be okay with the fact that you can’t work every hour of every day. Get a good night’s sleep (because it just feels good!).Read this article to check out 10 things that will help you sleep better. What benefits of sleep have you noticed in your life?

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Daniel Wallen

Freelance Writer

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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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