Do You Sleep More Than You Sit? That Could Be Your Path to Improving Your Mental Health
Most people believe walking at least 10000 steps a day is a healthy way to live. A lot of us were trying to reach this target until a few months ago and were successful too. But the lockdown is changing things. With no office to commute to, no parks open for a walk, or gym to workout, physical activity is taking a backseat. While a lot of them are finding it hard to stay at home, and believe it adds to their stress, did you know that staying indoors can boost your mental well-being?
And add to it, the more you sleep and rest yourself, the better it is for your mental well-being. So, switch away some of the TV and Netflix time into nap time, and you will your depression and stress levels dropping considerably. Don’t believe us? Here are a few ways in which sleeping boosts your mental health over any physical activity or sitting up straight!
Would you believe it if we told you that you could sleep your way to a weight loss? Yes, research shows that people who engage in lower levels of physical activity and rest lose more weight than those who were into a high-intensity workout. Another study found that people who slept for fewer hours were more likely to be obese and overweight than others. There is a disruption in the functioning of the hormones that control appetite when you’re not well-rested. This means, without proper sleep, your body’s resistance to the temptation of unhealthy food is less. It thus makes you give in to all those cravings, take out foods, and binge on unhealthy snacks.
You are thus adding to all those extra pounds. And don’t forget the hours you end up wasting at the gym because you do not have the energy to work out, and you just can’t figure out why. Studies suggest that there is a direct relation between the quality of sleep and the weight of a person. So, hit snooze on that alarm and get a few more hours of sleep.
Enhanced Brain Activity
Well-rested people are more likely to remember things than those who are sleep-deprived. Remember the time when you’re working on huge files, you try to hit save, but it just doesn’t because there are too many tabs open and many apps running in the background?
Well, that is exactly how your brain feels without ample rest, and you try to process new information. Your brain does a full memory scan while you’re asleep. It tries to process all the information there, sort them into relevant categories. It then links any related events to help you find them later.
Without ample rest or deep sleep, your brain doesn’t get the time to process all the information overload you’re dumping on it. And that’s why you tend to forget all that you’re trying to memorize. Remember the time before a college exam where you tried to pull an allnighter but couldn’t recall much during the exam. And what little you remembered during the exam is also difficult to recall after that? Well, the information was in your short term memory, and because you did not give your brain the time to process it, it did not enter the long term memory. This means that the information is gone forever.
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Sleep is like the body’s downtime. Just like your servers, your body needs time to recover from all the incoming data and load. The blood vessels are working round the clock, and the pressure is higher while you’re indulging in some activity. And activity need not necessarily mean running or exercising. Even sitting and watching a movie involves a lot of muscular activity and keeps your heart and brain working to its full efficiency.
However, when you sleep, the blood vessels get to slow down their function and enjoy a bit of downtime before getting back to work. Sleep is thus a great way to keep your heart healthy and fit. Besides the heart, the body repairs itself while you are asleep. Now you know why the doctors advise you to take ample rest when you’re sick. It’s the sleep that fixes more ailments than the medicines do.
These are just a few reasons to do something we all love – sleep. So, while you’re in the lockdown and working from home, make the most of it. Grab every opportunity to catch a nap and come out of the quarantine as a healthy version of yourself!
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