What are the benefits of sleep?
For one, you feel great after sleeping well. But that's not all! Here are three more health benefits scientists have discovered:
Better Memory, Better Learning
You pick things up faster and retain information better when you’re well-rested. A 2004 study found that participants learned better when they got at least six hours of sleep. This improved the more sleep they got .
Improved Heart Health
In a 2016 study, participants who said they slept six hours a night had an 11% higher risk of developing coronary artery disease than those who slept seven hours instead . That’s right, even one extra hour of sleep every night counts.
A Healthier Waistline
A 2021 study found that shorter sleep has a significant association with obesity . That’s partially because your body produces more leptin (an appetite suppressant) and less grehlin (an appetite stimulant) as you sleep. It’s easier to control your desire to eat when you get more rest.
What happens if I sleep poorly, then?
- You aren’t able to concentrate as well, which leads to productivity dropping 
- Your mood worsens and stress levels increase 
- Your libido decreases and the likelihood of sexual dysfunction goes up 
- This creates a vicious cycle as you’ll begin to rely on caffeine just to stay awake
- Sleep aids help you to break this cycle, getting you back on track to catch every single one of those 40 winks
What makes for a good night's sleep?
An Ideal Sleep Duration
It’s not just about sleeping as much as you can. Every age group has a sleep duration range that’s optimal for them . E.g., 14-17 hours for newborns and 7-9 hours for adults.
High Sleep Quality
We undergo 4-5 uninterrupted sleep cycles every night, consisting of three NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) stages followed by REM (Rapid Eye Movement) . Your sleep quality deteriorates when you are woken up early or experience disruptions to your sleep cycles.
Keeping a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Hitting the hay and waking up at roughly the same time everyday makes it easier for your body to regulate your sleep-wake cycle. As an added bonus, your overall health improves too .
Can’t I make up for lost sleep by napping?
In a word: No. You’ll definitely catch a second wind after getting a good siesta in, but for most of us, sleeping more and napping during the weekends simply isn’t effective in paying off our sleep debt . A nap is a great stopgap measure only during rare occasions where we sleep later or wake up earlier than we’d like.
Even then, researchers have determined that brief naps (10-30 minutes) are the most beneficial for our mind and body . Any shorter and you might as well have stayed awake. Any longer lengthens the sleep inertia (disorientation and poor mood right after waking up) you suffer from.
Nip the problem of lost sleep in the bud with our sleep aids! When you get more rest and enjoy higher quality sleep every night, there’s no need to set aside time just to nap. What’s more, you’ll naturally feel more energised and be more productive throughout the day.
More on Melatonin
Myth #1: Melatonin is addictive
Melatonin has been proven to help alleviate insomnia and several other conditions without leading to addiction or physical dependence .
Remember, it’s a hormone that our bodies produce naturally on a daily basis. Supplementation is occasionally recommended because our bodies produce less of it as we age.
Because melatonin is a powerful antioxidant, supplementation helps protect us against diseases like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease. Research also showed that it was more effective than other natural antioxidants, to boot .
Myth #2: Melatonin is only responsible for sleep
Almost every animal and plant produces melatonin, and research has shown that it does more than just regulate our sleep-wake cycles and signal us to hit the hay.
Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant, protecting us against many toxins (e.g., UV radiation) and toxin-producing processes (e.g., alcohol consumption). Scientists have even gone on to dub it a “Swiss Army Knife” .