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5 Reasons Sleep Can Improve Your Lifestyle

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5 Reasons Sleep Can Improve Your Lifestyle

Sleep is probably one of the most underrated factors that can be used to improve our health. Despite being extremely important, it rarely gets the attention it deserves.

Just how Leonardo DiCaprio never wins an Oscar.

Not paying attention to your sleep can lead to a reduction in both productivity and health. Paying attention to it is the easiest way to improve your lifestyle.

Here are five reasons sleep can improve your lifestyle:

1. Improved cognitive performance and memory.

Most people burn the midnight oil whenever they are studying for an exam or have to cram a whole lot of information into their brains.

What if I told you that your late night attempt to learn is counterproductive and you are probably better off sleeping? There are a couple ways sleep will enhance your cognitive performance and memory.

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Ensuring you are well-rested will help keep mental fatigue at bay. How else would you be able to focus and learn what’s important if mental fatigue is causing an inability to focus?

brain
    2. Sleep and skill acquisition.

    The second way is related to how our brain functions. Short term memory is stored in a part of the brain called the neocortex, while long term memory is stored in the hippocampus (Peigneux P. et al 2004).

    During sleep, information from the neocortex gets transferred into the hippocampus, creating a much more permanent storage. Hence, a well-rested brain will ensure proper mental function and an improved memory.

    It’s interesting to note that sleeping well will help us pick up new skills faster. Study subjects that had sleep deprivation had no problem performing and learning simple skills; however, as difficulty increased, the subjects who were sleep-deprived found it tougher to pick up a new skill (Landry S. et al 2014).

    Another study titled “The Relationship between Tennis Skill Acquisitions with Sleep Quality and Quality of Life” was performed on tennis players, showed that players who slept well were faster and more accurate than those who didn’t (Seferogu F. et al 2013).

    The takeaway is that sleep is highly important when it comes to learning something new, especially if what you’re going to learn is not that simple.

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    fat guy

      3. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain.

      Lack of sleep can not only disrupt mental performance but it can also hamper physical performance. Lab studies have shown that an increase in sleep deprivation showed an increased risk of obesity and diabetes (Walsh N. et al 2011).

      A study called “Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity” demonstrated two groups of subject were put on a weight loss diet, the group which had sleep deprivation lost more weight from muscle instead of fat (Nedeltcheva AV et al 2010).

      The reason behind this could be potentially caused by changes in insulin resistance and glucose regulation. This means our body cannot process sugar as efficiently, which can lead to potential fat gain.

      The longer you’re awake, the higher the chance for you to eat something. And, most of the time, it isn’t going to be something “healthy”.

      4. Lack of sleep can lead to decreased immune function.

      When we sleep, our body produces a hormone called melatonin. This is a vital hormone that helps regulate our immune system. A lack of melatonin can lead to someone falling sick easily due to a weaken immune system. This is probably why you might see people who have not slept for a few nights are also those that are more prone to falling sick as well.

      There are also studies demonstrating that a lack of sleep can also increase the risk of cancer, heart disease and an increase in cholesterol levels (Marshall NS et al 2012).

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      So if you want to take care of your health, you better be monitoring your sleep.

      5. Lack of sleep can reduce sex drive

      Our sex drive is regulated by a hormone called testosterone. This applies to both males and females. A reduction of 10-30% of testosterone can be seen in populations that are sleep deprived, not to mention that this reduction can be further magnified if sleep deprivation continues (Leproult R. et al 2011).

      This shows that if you lack sleep, a reduction in testosterone will lead to a reduction of your sex drive.

      So, to be good in bed, you actually need to spend more time in bed—sleeping.

      References:

      1. Peigneux P. et al 2004 Are Spatial Memories Strengthened in the Human Hippocampus during Slow Wave Sleep?

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      2. Landry S. et al 2014 The impact of obstructive sleep apnea on motor skill acquisition and consolidation.

      3. Seferogu F. et al 2013 The Relationship between Tennis Skill Acquisitions with Sleep Quality and Quality of Life

      4. Walsh N et al 2011 Position statement. Part one: Immune function and exercise.

      5. Nedeltcheva AV et al 2010 Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity.

      6.  Marshall NS et al  2012 Sleep Apnea as an Independent Risk Factor for All-Cause Mortality: The Busselton Health Study

      7. Leproult R, Van Cauter E. 2011  Effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy men.

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      Featured photo credit: Sleeping Man/Rudolf Vlček via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on December 2, 2021

      The Importance of Making a Camping Checklist

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      The Importance of Making a Camping Checklist

      Camping can be hard work, but it’s the preparation that’s even harder. There are usually a lot of things to do in order to make sure that you and your family or friends have the perfect camping experience. But sometimes you might get to your destination and discover that you have left out one or more crucial things.

      There is no dispute that preparation and organization for a camping trip can be quite overwhelming, but if it is done right, you would see at the end of the day, that it was worth the stress. This is why it is important to ensure optimum planning and execution. For this to be possible, it is advised that in addition to a to-do-list, you should have a camping checklist to remind you of every important detail.

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      Why You Should Have a Camping Checklist

      Creating a camping checklist makes for a happy and always ready camper. It also prevents mishaps.  A proper camping checklist should include every essential thing you would need for your camping activities, organized into various categories such as shelter, clothing, kitchen, food, personal items, first aid kit, informational items, etc. These categories should be organized by importance. However, it is important that you should not list more than you can handle or more than is necessary for your outdoor adventure.

      Camping checklists vary depending on the kind of camping and outdoor activities involved. You should not go on the internet and compile a list of just any camping checklist. Of course, you can research camping checklists, but you have to put into consideration the kind of camping you are doing. It could be backpacking, camping with kids, canoe camping, social camping, etc. You have to be specific and take note of those things that are specifically important to your trip, and those things which are generally needed in all camping trips no matter the kind of camping being embarked on.

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      Here are some tips to help you prepare for your next camping trip.

      1. First off, you must have found the perfect campground that best suits your outdoor adventure. If you haven’t, then you should. Sites like Reserve America can help you find and reserve a campsite.
      2. Find or create a good camping checklist that would best suit your kind of camping adventure.
      3. Make sure the whole family is involved in making out the camping check list or downloading a proper checklist that reflects the families need and ticking off the boxes of already accomplished tasks.
      4. You should make out or download a proper checklist months ahead of your trip to make room for adjustments and to avoid too much excitement and the addition of unnecessary things.
      5. Checkout Camping Hacks that would make for a more fun camping experience and prepare you for different situations.

      Now on to the checklist!

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      Here is how your checklist should look

      1. CAMPSITE GEAR

      • Tent, poles, stakes
      • Tent footprint (ground cover for under your tent)
      • Extra tarp or canopy
      • Sleeping bag for each camper
      • Sleeping pad for each camper
      • Repair kit for pads, mattress, tent, tarp
      • Pillows
      • Extra blankets
      • Chairs
      • Headlamps or flashlights ( with extra batteries)
      • Lantern
      • Lantern fuel or batteries

      2.  KITCHEN

      • Stove
      • Fuel for stove
      • Matches or lighter
      • Pot
      • French press or portable coffee maker
      • Corkscrew
      • Roasting sticks for marshmallows, hot dogs
      • Food-storage containers
      • Trash bags
      • Cooler
      • Ice
      • Water bottles
      • Plates, bowls, forks, spoons, knives
      • Cups, mugs
      • Paring knife, spatula, cooking spoon
      • Cutting board
      • Foil
      • soap
      • Sponge, dishcloth, dishtowel
      • Paper towels
      • Extra bin for washing dishes

      3. CLOTHES

      • Clothes for daytime
      • Sleepwear
      • Swimsuits
      • Rainwear
      • Shoes: hiking/walking shoes, easy-on shoes, water shoes
      • Extra layers for warmth
      • Gloves
      • Hats

      4. PERSONAL ITEMS

      • Sunscreen
      • Insect repellent
      • First-aid kit
      • Prescription medications
      • Toothbrush, toiletries
      • Soap

      5. OTHER ITEMS

      • Camera
      • Campsite reservation confirmation, phone number
      • Maps, area information

      This list is not completely exhaustive. To make things easier, you can check specialized camping sites like RealSimpleRainyAdventures, and LoveTheOutdoors that have downloadable camping checklists that you can download on your phone or gadget and check as you go.

      Featured photo credit: Scott Goodwill via unsplash.com

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