Sleep is not only comfortable, restful and peaceful, it holds a number of health benefits, both for our physical and mental health as well as for our safety and quality of daily life. Poor sleep can lead to a loss of enjoyment and can contribute to many serious medical problems.
When we are asleep, our body takes this opportunity to recover, and when we talk about recovery we are talking about both physical recovery, where our body releases growth hormones and helps our muscles recover, and our cognitive recovery, where our brain processes everything we have done or need to do, clears our mind, and sets us up with enough mental capacity to keep going the next day.
Without good sleep (and by good we mean both quantity- how much sleep, and quality- is it good sleep), we put ourselves at risk of some pretty serious health problems, including diabetes, cardio-vascular illness, mental health difficulties and more. This is why in a first session with any psychologist you will likely be asked about your sleep, because its connection with our mental health is so strong. Sleep helps your brain reorganise and retain memories. While you’re awake, your brain is receiving lots of information and images. You might even be trying to learn new things. While you’re asleep, your brain may replay and organise the events, memories and information from the day. During sleep, your brain might be consolidating new memories and processing information all of which help with cognitive function.
Good quality sleep means having a regular routine, being able to fall asleep, stay asleep and wake refreshed and ready to go. Without quality sleep we are likely to feel fatigued, and if you have felt fatigued before, you know the impact that this has on your ability to concentrate when someone is talking to you, to drive a car and focus on many things at once, to deal with stress and be able to effectively problem solve. Sleep allows us to relax and build a buffer so that when problems and stressors do arise, we have the capacity and strength to manage them.
Further to that, when we are asleep our physical recovery includes building our immune system, meaning that come tomorrow we are better able to manage physical and mental strain, and be more resilient to illness and disease.
There is a lot of information out there about sleep, how much sleep someone should get, what good quality sleep looks like, how to set yourself up for good sleep. Being able to apply that information however, can be difficult. And so, if you feel that your sleep is not as you would like it, if you would like some personal help to better fall asleep, stay asleep and wake refreshed, listen to this month’s vlogs and blogs and contact Prosper Health Collective where we can help you find the skills that allow you to prosper each day.
Some amazing sleep resources include: