Benefits of a good night sleep can never be overrated!
Take your sleep seriously and do everything you can to optimize its quality!
As a whole, a good night’s sleep ensures that we can start the day fresh and cheerful. It also provides better resistance, less appetite for unhealthy snacks, and more beautiful, radiant skin. Lack of good quality sleep can have serious health consequences.
Read on to discover the biggest benefits of sleeping well and some helpful tips to maximize your sleep quality.
Table of Contents
- 1 Benefits of a good night sleep: Introduction
- 2 The older, the more sleepless
- 3 How much do you value good sleep?
- 4 Different sleep stages explained
- 5 Proven benefits of a good night’s sleep
- 6 Sleep therapy to fight chronic insomnia
- 7 Experiment and find out what works for you
- 8 The sleep hormone melatonin
- 9 Sometimes it takes more to sleep better
- 10 Making love to sleep better
- 11 Deep sleep is the most important
- 12 Sleeping aids: Cons
- 13 Best advice for people who sleep poorly
- 14 Benefits of a good night sleep: Conclusion
Benefits of a good night sleep: Introduction
Unfortunately, sleep is still often condescended to here and there. Working extremely hard and getting little sleep is cool in specific environments (think business and the startup world).
Trying to get 8 hours of sleep every night by going to bed on time is considered overkill in such environments.
Fortunately, there is now a growing awareness. More and more people are reasonably convinced that good and enough sleep is just as important as healthy eating.
Books, websites, newspapers, podcasts, magazines, training programs, and TV shows pay more and more attention to it.
And doctors are also increasingly asking their patients how well or poorly they sleep. All steps in the right direction, then.
The older, the more sleepless
As we age, changes occur in our normal sleep. For example, we sleep lighter and in smaller amounts from about 44 to 45 years old.
We have less deep sleep and wake up more easily during the night. Falling asleep also usually takes a little longer compared to your childhood years.
Younger adults fall asleep in 25 to 30 minutes, on average. And if you get a little older, it can easily take 50 to 60 minutes to doze off.
Furthermore, your sleep rhythm shifts more forward as you age. You get sleepy earlier in the day and wake up earlier in the morning. By the way, this does not have to lead to health problems.
How much do you value good sleep?
There are hundreds or even thousands of pieces of advice for sleeping better. You will also be able to read some of our favorite sleep advice on this page (below).
It can only be positive to be confronted with sleep tips regularly because repetition is the power of awareness and lasting change.
But what makes it so difficult to consistently implement those sleep tips and stick with them in the medium to long term?
You must have intrinsic motivation
Basically, this issue of changing lifestyle permanently is the same issue as losing weight.
We usually know very well what we need to do to achieve this, but unfortunately, we are constantly exposed to temptations through peer pressure, advertising, marketing, enticements in the supermarket, social media, etc.
To make lasting changes to your lifestyle, you must know how you want to be in life.
In other words, what do you think is important to yourself? And what do you have to show for good sleep quality?
Think about this and put your ducks in a row before you try to change your behavior.
It’s also good to think about who you hang out with like that. Do you have friends and/or family who take their sleep seriously? Then pull that up a little more because this can be a good influence.
The intrinsic motivation to improve your sleep quality should be present. The will to change must come from within if you want to make fundamental, lasting changes to your lifestyle.
Embrace delayed gratification
Another reason why many people have a hard time making lasting changes to their lifestyle and sleep patterns is the continuous pursuit of instant gratification in today’s society.
It’s harder to sustain when you’re not rewarded for something until the longer term. This is just the case for lifestyle changes and changes to your sleep patterns.
Drinking alcohol and eating hamburgers and chocolate, on the other hand, for example, do give the feeling of a nice short-term reward.
The average person quits pretty quickly if we have to forgo short-term rewards to sleep better or lose weight.
In addition, people do not always realize that their poor daytime functioning stems from a lack of sleep.
And so, in such a scenario, they completely feel that they don’t need to follow sleep recommendations because they are not aware of the sleep problem.
Different sleep stages explained
We sleep in blocks of about 90 minutes.
During those 90 minutes, you go through different stages of sleep. The difference between these sleep stages is in the amount of activity in the brain.
Broadly speaking, we can distinguish 3 sleep stages:
- REM sleep (in which people dream a lot and the brain is therefore busy), accounting for 25% of a block
- Deep sleep (in which your brain shows little activity), accounting for 25% of a block
- Light sleep, accounting for 50% of a block
About every 90 minutes, you go through these 3 sleep stages (which is not to say that all sleep cycles are the same).
For example, one block of sleep of about 90 minutes has more deep sleep than another.
Good to know: You go through about 4 to 6 of these sleep cycles per night. You can often wake up between two blocks, and you won’t even notice.
Sometimes you have to go to the bathroom and then just sleep on.
The first 5 to 6 hours of sleep is called core sleep; the second half of the night consists mainly of more superficial sleep and is called residual sleep.
To keep the sleep stages as regular as possible, it’s a good idea to go to bed around the same time each night.
Proven benefits of a good night’s sleep
Much research has already been done on the adverse effects of sleeping poorly for long periods in a row.
In any case, a lack of sleep increases your risk of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and depression.
Related: Why Is Obesity a Risk Factor for Chronic Disease? + Prevention Tips
But can we also turn it around? Can we also speak of the positive health effects of good sleep quality? In other words, what are the proven benefits of sleeping well?
Hard evidence is not so much. There is only clear evidence of what you directly notice from less sleep, such as being sleepy during the day, not being able to concentrate as well, not feeling as good about yourself, etc.
These disadvantages are often immediate and easy to compensate for by sleeping better. In addition, sleep as part of a good lifestyle seems to contribute to good health.
Sleep is just good for humans. Countless tests and blood tests have already established how important sleep is for recovery, growth, and maintenance.
This includes your memory, mood, and the maintenance of your immune system (defenses). Among other things, sleep causes the release of growth hormones.
Sleep is also essential for processing emotions, proper blood flow to your organs, cleaning tissues, processing newly learned information, etc.
Sleep is about feeling rested and maintaining beautiful and healthy, glowing skin and a stable brain.
By sleeping well, you give yourself the best chance in terms of health and fully enjoy the benefits of a good night sleep.
As for how much sleep you need, that is something everyone has to figure out for themselves. So your body tells you what enough is.
Sleep therapy to fight chronic insomnia
One of the best-researched remedies for insomnia is the so-called cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (also known as sleep therapy).
According to the U.S. National Institute of Health, sleep therapy appears to be an effective and long-term solution for chronic insomnia.
In 7 to 8 out of 10 poor sleepers, sleep therapy has an apparent positive effect on their sleep quality. This type of cognitive behavioral therapy is even as effective as medication in the short term.
The primary benefit is that sleep therapy teaches people several new skills so it works even better than medication in the long run.
You can attend sleep therapy live in person and online on various websites and platforms.
If you can do anything you want during the day, you probably don’t have a sleep problem. It’s only a problem if your sleep is so bad as to make you function less well during the day.
Experiment and find out what works for you
Most people like to sleep and are usually pretty good at it.
If you have been sleeping poorly for a short while, it may not affect the benefits of a good night sleep on a long term basis.
At times of sleep deprivation, there are several things you can do to keep the temporary problem from becoming a chronic one.
For example, you can take more breaks during the day or decide to walk at least 30 minutes daily.
Also, always try to respect a fixed sleep rhythm. Ideally, aim for 8 (or 7) hours of sleep per night at a set rhythm to go to bed and get up.
The older you get, the more likely you will become a morning person. In fact, as you get older, you wake up earlier and earlier. This means that when you are older, you also need to go to sleep on time to get enough hours of rest.
There is no one holy grail for suddenly sleeping much better and enjoying the benefits of a good night sleep.
Extra tips to get a good night’s sleep
Still, there are a few things you should keep in mind to increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep:
- Doing a relaxation exercise or some meditation or yoga every night is also a good idea.
- Tip: For more relaxation tips, check our other article What Are 5 Stress Management Techniques to Relieve Stress?
- Eating late is out of the question and not a good idea. Eat well on time and definitely not too late!
- Walking at least 30 minutes every day promotes sleep for most people. But is that feasible for you? You can also focus on cycling, jogging, swimming, etc.
- Using a heavy-duty bed frame that can support your weight is also beneficial for a good night’s sleep because:
- A strong bed frame provides stability and prevents your bed from sagging (which can cause extreme discomfort and which can also disrupt your sleep).
- An extra strong bed frame ensures that you are properly supported throughout the night, reducing the risk of aches and pains such as hip pain or back pain.
- A heavy-duty bed frame increases the longevity of your mattress, as a sturdy bed frame can prevent wear and tear.
- It reduces the likelihood of noise disturbances, such as squeaking or creaking, which can disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling tired and groggy in the morning. 👍
- Check out our article on the best bed frames for heavy people to see which models fit your weight and budget!
- Alcohol disrupts your deep sleep, even though it makes it easier to fall asleep. In other words, alcohol lowers the quality of your sleep. Can and will you leave the alcohol or not?
Be your own researcher and dare to experiment with what suits you and what doesn’t.
Try to practice some tips that appeal to you, stick with them for a few weeks and, over time, analyze whether your sleep quality is improving as a result.
If not, opt for other tips and advice and explore what you can do today to change course.
The sleep hormone melatonin
Melatonin is a body’s own hormone, and your body produces it when it gets dark.
In the evening, the melatonin concentration in your body rises, peaks during the night, and drops again in the morning.
With this, melatonin signals when it is time to sleep and is therefore also called the sleep hormone.
Thus, in morning people, melatonin production occurs early. They become sleepy earlier in the evening and have trouble staying awake until late.
Evening and night shifts are difficult for them. On the other hand, getting up early goes very smoothly and easily for such people.
On the other hand, evening people have difficulty getting up early and can easily stay awake until late.
This is because their melatonin production starts.
Melatonin as a supplement
Treatment with melatonin in supplement form can influence our biological clock a little, and thus determine the time when we sleep optimally.
This can help with sleep problems resulting from a disturbed day and night rhythm, resulting from jet lag, for example.
For common insomnia, melatonin is not effective. When misused, it can also backfire and cause poorer sleep quality and daytime sleepiness and will not promote the benefits of a good night sleep.
So never take melatonin on your own but always consult your doctor or specialist first.
Sometimes it takes more to sleep better
Not everyone succeeds in getting better sleep on their own. Sometimes there is more to it and an underlying condition.
The 3 most common conditions that cause sleep problems are:
- Restless legs
To find out if you have any of these conditions, you can see your doctor.
Fortunately, something can be done about all 3 of these conditions. However, this does not mean that all your symptoms will disappear completely.
Insomnia occurs when you are very dissatisfied with your sleep at least 3 times a week for 3 months.
Many people do not know that the preferred treatment for insomnia is a particular sleep therapy, namely cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.
It is best to follow this therapy under the supervision of a specialized psychologist, live in their practice, or online.
In this form of therapy, you learn to think differently and approach things differently.
Together you will think about how you can improve your sleep habits and what are the thoughts that are preventing you from sleeping well.
Nearly 80% of poor sleepers benefit from it and experience significant benefits.
The disadvantage of this sleep therapy is that it lasts at least 6 weeks and takes at least 30 minutes of your time each day.
Making love to sleep better
Often, sex is mentioned as a natural sleep aid but be careful because this is not true for everyone.
The relaxation that occurs after an orgasm can indeed make you fall asleep faster. But if you actually become more energetic from making love, it can harm your sleep quality.
You know best yourself if it is sleep-promoting or not for you.
Deep sleep is the most important
You often hear that the hours before midnight count double, but that’s not really true.
What is true is that there is a lot of deep sleep in the first few hours, that is, during the first sleep cycles. Those first hours are thus crucial for the recovery and rebuilding of your body.
It doesn’t matter if you start those first hours at 11 p.m. or at 1 a.m. As long as you go to bed around the same time as much as possible and stay pretty consistent in terms of sleep discipline.
Sleeping aids: Cons
Those who have trouble sleeping may quickly think of sleeping pills. Only these come with a pack of drawbacks.
Sleep aids are addictive, and habituation occurs! After about 2 weeks they hardly work anymore.
In addition, sleeping pills do not help everyone by a long shot. If anything, you may spend more time sleeping, but your sleep quality will not improve.
It can make you drowsy or more tired during the day.
In older people, they also increase the risk of falls. This is because people can become dazed by sleep aids, even during the day. So if your balance is already a little less good, as in the elderly, you lose your balance more quickly.
Several studies have shown sleep therapy to work better than sleep medication in the long run. So in cases of insomnia, at least, that should be the first choice.
Best advice for people who sleep poorly
Finally, we share some helpful sleep tips you can use to improve your sleep quality and amplify the benefits of a good night sleep:
Move as much as possible every day (without overdoing it). Preferably do this outdoors and build in short and longer breaks each day.
In other words, a good night’s sleep starts during the day, and you will start to reap benefits of a good night sleep the day after!
For example, opt for a smaller break of 5 or 10 minutes after each 60-minute exercise.
Then take a short walk, get some air on the terrace, go up and down the stairs, talk to a colleague, do some stretching exercises, etc.
Numerous scientific studies show that by exercising moderately to intensively for at least 2.5 hours a week, we sleep about 40 to 50 minutes longer.
The positive effect of physical activity and exercise on your sleep quality doesn’t work immediately, so keep up your new sportier lifestyle for a while and give it plenty of time.
Warm feet are important
Make sure your feet are warm when you are in your bed.
If necessary, use socks or a hot water bottle.
Stop drinking alcohol
Stop drinking alcohol or at least drink fewer alcoholic beverages.
Alcohol changes the structure of your sleep.
You may fall asleep faster because of a glass of alcohol, but at the same time, you don’t sleep as well because of it. Alcohol can also cause you to wake up less fit and less energetic.
Avoid caffeine too late in the day
Do not drink coffee, cola, or caffeinated teas after 3 p.m.
This stimulant caffeine does not wear off completely until 8 hours later in some people.
Beware: Caffeine is sleep-disrupting and is also found in chocolate, by the way!
Don’t eat anything after dinner
A stomach that has to work too hard can seriously disrupt your sleep.
If you are really hungry, have a piece of fruit, some yogurt, or a handful of nuts.
And look at what you ate during the day.
Was that enough because why else would you be hungry? Or do you just crave something when you’re not actually hungry?
Introduce rest toward the evening
Always build your day slowly and prepare your body for bedtime.
One to two hours before bedtime, feel free to do some housework, read a book or magazine, meditate, do yoga or listen to music.
But it is definitely not a good idea to do any heavy exercise or work this late in the evening (avoid emails and phones before work). Also, don’t watch horror movies, thrillers, or very exciting, blood-curdling series on Netflix.
Also, don’t watch any more social media because your brain can’t relax because of the massive flow of information.
Invest in a high-quality mattress
Invest in a good mattress, a good pillow, and dark curtains.
If possible, keep your bedroom cool and definitely not too hot.
See if earplugs and/or a sleep mask can do anything for you.
Ban screens such as tablets, televisions, and laptops from your bedroom.
The bedroom is for sleeping, reading, and making love.
Also, make sure your room is tidy. Clutter creates anxiety, and that can keep you from sleeping.
Follow a regular sleep pattern
These days, our modern lifestyle is a real saboteur to our sleep….
Regularity is crucial if you want to improve your sleep quality.
Go to bed around the same time every day and get out around the same time every morning. It doesn’t take more than that to give your night’s sleep its first boost already!
Go to bed up to an hour later and stay in bed up to an hour longer to sleep in.
So be sure and don’t overdo it to continue to respect your sleep pattern as best you can, even if you have the weekend off and how you don’t go to work.
Benefits of a good night sleep: Conclusion
High sleep quality and good sleep are crucial components of a healthy lifestyle to enhance the benefits of a good night sleep.
If you are struggling with a lack of sleep, the above insights and tips can help you get better, deeper, and longer sleep.
Initially, forget sleeping pills and try to solve your problem yourself with the above advice.
Sleep therapy under the guidance of an expert helps most individuals with insomnia!
Do you suffer from restless, bad, and short nights? Then don’t wait any longer and take action.
Inadequate sleep takes its toll in the medium to long term anyway so contact your doctor if you have had this problem for a while to avoid serious health problems!