When clients come to me for life and wellness coaching, I ask each person to list what they’d like to change in their lives. Typical goals include having more energy, experiencing more fulfilment, enjoying better health, or improving their relationships. Change takes work, and we’d all love to have a magic wand we could wave to instantly get the various results we want. Sadly, there isn’t such thing as a magic wand – but sleep comes close. For the vast sleep-deprived majority, sleep is the untapped miracle cure-all. It literally and instantly improves every area of your life.
If you’re sleep-deprived (regularly sleeping less than 8 hours a night), here’s how committing to a good night’s sleep could change your life:
1) Feel happier in life
The next time you sleep enough to wake feeling rested, pay close attention to your mood throughout the day. You’ll notice that you feel less stressed, you’re more optimistic, you enjoy talking to people more, life just feels so much better. Sleep deprivation is a significant contributor to feelings of depression and anxiety. Sleep will make the difference between a good day and a bad one.
2) More likely to lose weight
If you’re overweight and want to lose weight, focus on improving your sleep before working on your food habits. A sleep-deprived body produces more ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite and increases cravings for unhealthy, high-carbohydrate foods. In addition, lack of sleep impairs insulin and sugar metabolism, making you more likely to both gain weight and develop diabetes. A good night’s sleep makes it easier for you to make better food choices: your cravings lessen and a well-rested brain also makes better decisions.
3) Age more slowly
Lack of sleep breaks down the tiny telomere caps that protect your genes, accelerating the aging process. Getting enough sleep, in contrast, activates an enzyme called telomerase that repairs this damage, turning back the aging process and actually making you genetically younger again.
4) Look and feel more attractive
Sorry to be superficial, but let’s face it – vanity is a powerful motivator. A study published in the British Medical Journal showed that when they briefly deprived a group of people of sleep, their faces were judged to be less attractive and less healthy than when the same subjects got a full eight hours of sleep. It makes perfect sense; think of how much better you look, feel and act when you’re well rested.
5) Be smarter and improve cognitive ability
Sleep deprivation powerfully impacts the cognitive functioning of your brain. If you’re chronically sleep-deprived you’ll have forgotten how sharp you actually are; not only has your brain not had a chance to perform at its best, but your memory will have also been affected. A good night’s sleep will dramatically improve your intellectual (and physical) performance on multiple levels.
6) Be more likely to achieve your dreams
If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t have much energy. It will be hard to get through your day, and by the end of it you’ll probably feel too exhausted to do much more than sit around. A proper night’s sleep will shift you out of just surviving, into thriving. You’ll have that extra energy you need to put into action the steps that will take your life where you want it to go.
Leave a comment below to let us know how important sleep is to you, or check out more of Dr Biali’s articles.