Despite the fact that lack of sleep has been linked to high stress levels, a suppressed immune system, a decreased sex drive, a slower metabolism and depression it is unusual to find a well rested person in today’s busy life. Most people find it hard to take the time to rest often perceiving it as a waste of time compared to other activities, but did you know you can actually put your dreams to work for you?
Here are six ways dreaming can actually help you to be more productive:
1. Strengthen Your Immune System
A recent study by researchers at the Sorbonne University of Paris found that even a 30 minute nap can return men’s hormones levels back to normal even after a 2 hour night of sleep. The researchers tested men’s saliva and urine and found that their levels of norepinephrine–a stress hormone involved in the fight or flight response, were two and half times higher than after a regular night of sleep and that their levels of interleukin-6, and antiviral protein aiding the immune system also dipped low. However, after the test subjects were allowed to take two 30 minute naps throughout the day, following that 2 hour night of sleep, their hormone levels returned to normal. The researchers concluded that even brief naps help your immune system to recover, which could mean less time being sick and more time for fun.
2. Sharpen Your Memory
In 2009 researchers found that during deep levels of sleep events called “sharp wave ripples” which are which like a sped up replay of the neuronal activity that occurred recently. These waves help transfer information from the hippocampus to the prefrontal cortex, a process which aids in memory formation and planning for the future. With a sharp mind, you’ll make less mistakes.
3. Reduce Time Spent at the Gym
Not getting enough sleep increases cortisol levels, a stress hormone that makes you crave fatty foods. In addition recent studies correlate lack of sleep is associated with lowered leptin levels, the peptide responsible for satiety, and elevations in ghrelin the peptide that increases cravings for high fat carbohydrates. When you get adequate sleep, these appetite-regulating peptides stay balanced, so you don’t have the urge to overeat or reach for extra snacks, which could ultimately reduce the amount of time spent at the gym or increase the effectiveness of your workouts.
4. Increase Creativity
While you are in deep sleep, such as REM sleep, your brain integrates and associates memories, linking neuronal paths. According to Psychology Today in a recent study test subjects were given an associative word test where they had to relate common words such as lonely and depressed. Both groups were allowed to nap to NREM sleep about 60 minutes, and REM sleep which is about 90 minutes. Subjects who were woken up after NREM sleep and were tested again gave common responses, compared to the subjects who were woken after REM sleep: these gave uncommon responses, indicating that accessing REM sleep gave the subjects access to more parts of the brain and boosted creativity.
5. Boost Your Mood
Sleep deprivation makes you more irritable and impatient. You can avoid fights or arguments by taking a nap or getting adequate sleep. A rested mind allows you be motivated and have better judgement which can actually improve your relationship to coworkers and anyone who has to be around you. No one likes being around a grump!
6. Repair Muscle Tissues
During REM sleep the body releases 60% -80% of human growth hormone, which is crucial for repairing muscles, bone and protein synthesis. It triggers cell growth and regeneration. That means when you skimp on sleep you are not giving your body the best chance to recover. Getting adequate sleep is actually a very important part of a fitness routine.
Getting enough sleep goes a long way!
The only problem is that many people struggle with getting a good night’s sleep. One thing that often gets overlooked when trying to fix the problem is the quality of the mattress you are sleeping on. Studies have shown that investing in the best mattress to suit your needs can drastically improve your sleep. Make sure to do your research beforehand to ensure you are getting the best quality mattress for your sleep preferences. To make it easier, you can simply check out this awesome list to find the best mattresses of 2020!