When you wake up in the morning, your energy levels are probably the first thing you notice. You’re either bouncing out of bed, ready to take on the day or hitting snooze as many times as possible trying to postpone the start of your day.
Your body’s energy is linked to a number of different factors – food, stress, hydration, environment and most importantly, sleep! And it’s not just dependent on the amount of sleep you get. Sleep quality is just as important in establishing your sleep satisfaction on any given day.
In a sleep study by Royal Philips, it was found that after a bad night’s sleep, Australian adults report they aren’t as motivated (52%), they look tired (49%), they are moody/irritable (46%), or they can’t concentrate (42%).
And, in a 2016 sleep study by Dr John Mayhew, Sovereign Chief Medical Officer, more than a third (35%) of New Zealanders reported not getting enough sleep, or that the quality of their sleep was compromised. Among those aged 35 to 49, the figure rose to 42%.
And I’m sure many of us can relate to at least one of the above sentiments on a weekly basis. That’s why we’ve put together a list of five ways better sleep can increase your energy levels.
1. Sleep Helps to Stabilize Blood Sugars
Poor sleep quality has been linked to obesity and weight gain, and not getting enough sleep is also associated with an increase in calorie intake without any increase in activity level. When you’re tired and running on lack of sleep, your body naturally craves sugars to help give you the boost of energy you need. These sugar cravings elicit poor food choices which, in turn, aren’t fueling your body with the necessary nutrients it actually needs. When you get a good night’s rest, your body will have a better chance at maintaining blood sugar levels, thus preventing you from crashing during the day.
2. Sleep Improves Your Mood
When you’re sleep-deprived, your emotions are harder to control. This is because if you don’t sleep enough at night, your body boosts its levels of stress hormones. And the brain chemicals connected with deep sleep are the same ones that tell the body to stop the production of stress hormones. Therefore, deeper sleep means less stress. And less stress means a calmer, more settled mood. As we all know, when we’re in a good mood, we’re more likely to be more active, more social, and in general more enjoyable to be around.
3. Sleep Boosts Productivity and Memory
When you’re sleeping, your brain isn’t necessarily taking a break like the rest of our body is. It’s busy working on building new neuron connections to create long-term memories and solve the problems we encountered during the day. Therefore, when you’re well rested, your brain is quite literally, sharper and more alert, allowing you to recall past tasks and facts which helps with productivity. The more productive you feel, the more you’re willing to continue performing the tasks at hand.
4. Sleep Prevents Disease
During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. And some of these proteins need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation. When we’re sleep deprived, the production of these protective cytokines may decrease along with infection-fighting antibodies and cells. Therefore, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases. Long-term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and cardiovascular disease. When our body is busy fighting off diseases and sickness, our energy level plummet and we’re forced to slow down.
5. Sleep Increases Stamina and Performance
For those of us who play sports, sleep plays a huge role in enabling us to perform well and for longer. REM sleep, in particular, provides energy to both the brain and body. A Current Sports and Medicine Report explains how sleep has a significant impact on physical development, emotional regulation, cognitive performance, and quality of life. Along with being an integral part of the recovery process, evidence suggests that increased sleep duration and improved sleep quality in athletes are associated with improved performance and competitive success. In addition, better sleep may reduce the risk of both injury and illness in athletes. This not only optimises health but also potentially enhances performance through increased participation in training.
To begin your journey to better sleep, you need to:
a) Create a healthy sleep environment and then
b) Establish your sleep routine and schedule
Sleep isn’t just integral in improving your overall energy levels either. To learn how sleep can change your life for the better, check out our blog post 8 Ways Sleep Can Change Your Life.