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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

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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