Many people feel thatsleep is a waste of time. After all, there so much to be experienced and to dothat one life hardly seems to be enough. Why spend so much precious timesleeping?
1. Sleep makes you smart
Sleep is necessary to ensure that you can process and store everything you have learned. Our brain transfers important information into our long-term memory whilst we are sleeping. Factual knowledge is stored during the first half of the night during intense deep sleep phases. Movement patterns, which we are able to recall unconsciously, for example, piano playing or dancing, are consolidated during the second half of the night during dream (REM) sleep.
2. Sleep makes you healthy
Our immune system produces new antibodies whilst we sleep to defend the body against pathogens. The more and the better we sleep, the larger the number of natural immune cells. The body’s own messenger substances already signal a requirement for more sleep even when there is only a slight infection.
3. Sleep makes you fit
In a sense, sleep is like a charging station which enables us to tackle life full of energy. If you want to be fit and active during the day, you need to have periods of rest. Our internal clock sets the rhythm: our heart beats more slowly during the night and our metabolism slows down. The heart, blood vessels and organs can relax and regenerate. Muscles are also developed by the body while we sleep. It is very important to get enough sleep if you are physically active during the day.
4. Sleep makes you beautiful
It is for good reason that we use the expression “beauty sleep”. Body cells are shed and the growth of new cells is activated while we are asleep. Skin cells are also renewed: small wounds heal, wrinkles are reduced and the skin becomes more elastic and stronger. During the night, our bodies also fight off harmful metabolic products which cause the skin to age.
- Learning as you sleep
The best time to learn for an examination or presentation is during the morning. It is a good idea to revise what you have learned once more early in the evening and to go to bed soon thereafter. Avoid drinking alcohol which disrupts the important deep sleep phase.
- Lack of sleep at the weekends
If you go out on the weekend, it is important to catch up on any lost periods of deep sleep. If your sleep rhythm is disturbed once, your body needs time to recuperate. Therefore you should plan enough time to relax and catch up on your sleep after a long night out.
- Take power naps
An occasional short power nap increases your ability to concentrate and has a positive effect on short-term memory. Do not rest for longer than 20 to 30 minutes, after that the deep sleep phase begins. The best time to take a power nap is between 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm.