By Raegan Davies/Aug. 24, 2021 12:31 pm EDT
We’ve all been there — after the third or fourth night of staying up late playing our favorite video game or binging a new show and feeling awful in the morning, we vow to ourselves we’re going to start actually getting some sleep. Even though it’s tempting to stay up late snacking and doing all the other things we don’t have time for every day, sleep is incredibly important for your mental and physical health. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Sciences, getting those essential eight hours of sleep every night can help strengthen your immune system, help with weight loss, reduce stress and anxiety, and more.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Sciences also said that when you sleep does, in fact, matter, as your body’s natural “biological clock” adjusts on its own to the pattern of daylight where you live. Reorienting your sleep schedule to fit your body’s natural needs can have astounding health benefits, especially concerning the brain.
Fixing your sleep schedule is the first start to a healthier life
Your body has two processes that primarily regulate sleep, these are circadian rhythms and sleep drive (via Johns Hopkins Medicine). Circadian rhythms are the body’s “biological clock,” and respond primarily to changes in light, whereas sleep drive is the body’s natural desire to rest. When we ignore these two processes — by, for example, staying up late with the lights on and confusing our circadian rhythm or sleeping in so late that we deplete our sleep drive — we ruin our chances of a good night’s sleep, which in turn can lead to a myriad of health problems.
Sleeping well improves a wide range of neurological functions. For example, sleep improves “brain plasticity,” i.e. our ability to process information. Less sleep leads to not only being unable to process new information, but also it makes us more prone to forgetting the information in the future. Sleep also promotes the removal of waste from brain cells. Simply put, sleep can lead to a number of health benefits, and it is proven that the instituting of a regular sleep schedule can lead to better night’s sleep and a more productive day.
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