In a fast-pacing society, it’s very easy to neglect aspects related to our health and well-being. Sleep is one of the things that are part of that list, mostly because we never truly grasp the importance of allowing our bodies and minds to recharge and be prepared for the next day.
Today, we are going to address this matter in depth, showing you why sleep is important. After going through the benefits of getting a good’s night rest, we are going to guide you through a list of some of the best books on sleep ever written, in case you want to learn more on the topic.
Why Sleep Is Important
The first thing that you need to understand about sleep is that it is a restorative process, which means that your mind and body will heal when you’re resting. Not getting the right amount of sleep is detrimental to a person’s health from so many different perspectives. The following facts are backed by research and science, and they are what most of the books we’re going to show you today are counting on: to persuade you with logical and undeniable arguments that sleep truly is very important. When you sleep:
- You tend to consume less calories and watch your weight better. Those that don’t sleep for sufficient hours tend to weigh more compared to those who get enough rest. According to one review study, people that don’t sleep enough are way more likely to develop obesity. There are many ways in which lack of sleep has an impact on your health, from the way your body regulates the secretion of certain hormones and lowers your motivation to exercise. It’s also important to note that people who are sleep-deprived have a higher appetite and are way likelier to consume a larger amount of calories when they eat. When you don’t sleep, your appetite hormones suffer an imbalance, which means that it takes more food for you to feel full and you also tend to feel hungry way more often.
- You become more productive and find it easier to concentrate. Sleeping will improve cognition, performance, and productivity. According to a study performed on medical interns that are usually subjected to extensive hours of work, it turns out that those with long shifts and sleep-deprived made 36 percent more medical errors compared to those that had normal sleeping schedules. Another study revealed the fact that sleep deprivation has effects on the brain which are similar to those of alcohol intoxication. When you get enough sleep, you are more likely to improve your memory and it also helps improve your problem-solving skills.
- You can perform better athletic-wise. It is a well-known fact that sleeping can help improve athletic performance. A study conducted on basketball players, longer sleep has improved their speed and reaction times, as well as their accuracy. One study performed on more than 2,800 women revealed the fact that sleep deprivation leads to lower walking and lowers grip strength.
- You have lower odds of suffering a heart disease or a stroke. A 15-study review pointed out the fact that people with people that fail to get enough sleep are more likely to end up developing a heart disease or suffering from a stroke compared to those that manage to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.
- You have lower odds of developing type 2 diabetes or metabolic problems. One particular study that made young men sleep 4 hours per night for 6 nights in a row revealed symptoms of prediabetes. The symptoms disappeared within a week from turning to a proper sleeping schedule.
- You will have a stronger immune system. If you were ever sick and your doctor told you to get plenty of rest and sleep as much as you can, it’s because the body’s immune system can do a lot of work when you’re sleeping considering that it’s not as needed for other bodily processes. Your immune system is what helps you fight against all sorts of viruses, bacteria, and diseases. For instance, one study showed the people who slept less than 8 hours were 3 times more likely to catch a cold. Furthermore, poor sleep is linked to depression, as several studies have shown a link between some mental health issues and poor sleep quality.
It’s important to note that when you don’t get enough sleep, you are more likely to end up having mood swings the next day. This can also have an impact on your relationships for a number of reasons. First of all, your emotions are affected, which means you are more likely to get irritated, angry, or sad. You have little patience with those around you because of high irritation, which is bound to cause arguments with family, friends, at work, or during other social interactions.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
There’s a multitude of factors that determine how much sleep a person needs, and age is one of the most important ones. Children will always need to get more hours of sleep per day compared to adults, as their systems are developing and their growth hormones often take over and need all the support they can get. Newborns need 14 to 17 hours of sleep each day, while toddlers can do 11 to 14 hours. When you become an adult, 7 to 9 hours of sleep are more than enough to recharge your batteries and help you get ready for the upcoming day.
However, age isn’t the only decisive factor that helps you determine how much sleep you actually need. In order to determine your specific sleeping needs, you are going to have to consider:
- Can you thrive on 7 hours of sleep? Do you feel that after sleeping 7 hours, you are capable of being productive and have a positive mental state? If not, this could mean that you require more hours of sleep.
- Do you have any health issues that you know about? Any co-existing health problems combined with sleep deprivation put you at a higher risk of catching a disease.
- Do you need a lot of physical energy on a daily basis? This happens when you do a lot of sport or have a labor-intensive job.
- How alert do you need to be to stay safe at your job and during your daily activities? If you drive every day (regardless of whether it’s a work or a personal car) or have a job that requires you to operate heavy machinery, then you absolutely need to get as much rest as possible the night before.
- Do you need to drink coffee to get through the day?
- Whenever you’re free, do you tend to sleep more compared to the amount of sleep you get during the work week?
Answering these questions is important because it gives you an idea whether or not you’re getting a sufficient amount of sleep. It is really important that you turn sleep into a priority and learn to invest in a proper mattress, establish a good sleep hygiene, avoid using screen before bedtime, avoid working out before going to bed, making sure that your bedroom is dark and quiet, but also of the right temperature, and do everything you can to relax as much as possible before going to bed.
Best Books on Sleep
This New York Times bestseller is probably one of the best books on sleep that you could read. It is highly recommended by a large audience, from entrepreneurs that understand how sleep impacts productivity to people who are just looking for a means to educate themselves on why sleeping is important. In this book, you will understand more about sleep stages, how alcohol and caffeine can impact your sleeping pattern, why sleep is subject to change across a person’s lifetime, and more.
The book contains information about some of the scientific breakthroughs in the field of sleep, with input from neuroscientists that understood why sleeping and dreaming are an important part of our lives. It also teaches you that sleep is one of the best free productivity hacks for people of all ages, but also talks about the negative consequences that sleep deprivation can cause. It is definitely a must-read for everyone interested in knowing more about this topic.
Another great book that showcases how sleep can literally make or break your life is this gem right here. Written by an author with decades of experience in the field, Chris Winter is a sleep expert and a neurologist that describes a self-journey tailor for everyone to understand how lifestyle changes can improve sleep quality and make you a healthier and productive person.
In this book, you will find valuable insight on how different activities, light exposure, and dietary habits can be detrimental to a healthy sleeping schedule, how sleeping pills are often used wrong and might do more harm than good, and even get a clearer picture on the importance of napping, especially if you’re a parent, student, or night shift worker.
“Say Good Night to Insomnia: The Six-Week, Drug-Free Program Developed At Harvard Medical School” by Gregg D. Jacobs
According to the description of this book, the author seems to have helped American suffer from sleep deprivation to gain back control over their sleeping schedules the natural way, without using any sort of sleep air. Through a program developed and tested at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Gregg D. Jacobs has developed techniques based upon extensive research and testing of cognitive behavior therapy.
The results of his research helped him understand what lifestyle changes to promote, how relaxation plays an important part in helping people sleep, how stress reduction and the elimination of negative thoughts can promote positive sleep behavior. The program is spread across a six-week period and plenty of people have claimed it helped them adopt proper sleeping schedules, so it’s definitely worth a try.
Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in chief of The Huffington Post, talks about the science behind our sleep and dreams. The book is centered on how sleep has an impact on our relationships, job performance, and overall happiness. It includes a list of tips from leading scientists that will teach you more about the importance of restorative sleep through recommendations and examples.
The book also talks about the impact that technology has on our current sleeping patterns, showing that we are more sleep deprived now than we ever were. In a pursuit for your own “sleep awakening”, this book can really offer some valuable insight and a detailed road map that will show you what are the steps to take to improve this free resource that you are given and that, when done correctly, can improve your life in so many ways.
“Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success” by Shawn Stevenson
Shawn Stevenson’s book on sleeping offers another perspective on the many health benefits that can surface when you get consistent amounts of sleep each night. It is structured as a 14-day makeover that’s looking to show you how to create the perfect sleeping space, how to use sunlight to help regulate your circadian rhythm, and what are the sleep nutrients and supplements that actually work without poisoning your body.
What is truly interesting about this book is the fact that it was written by someone with dreams of being a professional athlete only to have his dreams crushed by degenerative bone disease. The author shows how sleep and proper nutrition helped heal him, and shares his journey that led him back to achieving his fitness goals.
“Sleeping Through the Night, Revised Edition: How Infants, Toddlers, and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night’s Sleep” by Jodi A. Mindell
As a parent, one of the most common problems that you’ll be facing is lack of sleep. While there are plenty of reasons that will keep you up at night throughout your lifetime, few people talk about what it means to stay out of need to care for a child. From nocturnal breastfeeding sessions to a growing child that needs to adapt to a normal sleeping schedule, the parent’s sleep doesn’t seem to have a proper fit into this equation.
In this book, Dr. Jodi A. Mindell, a person with experience in assessing and treating common children sleep problems, talks about what are the tips and techniques that can help solve sleeping problems in children. The book also aims at delivering answers to popular questions, whilst relying on the positive feedback and testimonials of parents that have succeeded in the process.
There really is no shame talking to your doctor if you are having a sleep-related problem that you don’t know how to solve. In our adult lives, most of us don’t desire to spend the night staring at the walls because we can’t afford the next day fatigue that comes along with it. However, not sleeping properly is more than just a matter of feeling groggy, as it can have a tremendous impact on your overall health.
Sleep deprivation is known for taking a toll on the mind and body, so it’s very important that you do everything that you can to improve your sleep quality and get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. We have worked to bring together some of the best books on sleep, so take a look into what each of them has to offer and determine if any of them might provide insightful information in any way.