Most people have heard the importance of getting a solid eight hours of rest at night. They might have even heard that it is good for their health. Sleep can actually have an enormous impact on your wellbeing because it is the time that the body uses to regulate itself. People are often shocked to learn that it can impact nearly every aspect of their lives, including their memory, their rate of inflammation, and even their creativity.
A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology by Terry R Barrett and Bruce R. Ekstrand examined what undergraduates could recall after either being awake, low REM sleep, and high REM sleep. Those in the low REM group, followed by the high REM group, showed superior memories to those who had been awake. The importance of sleep for memory can therefore impact school performance, work performance, and even the ability to complete daily tasks.
Those who do not get enough sleep tend to have higher levels of C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, and IL-6, which are all markers for inflammation. These inflammatory markers can impact the person’s risk for diabetes, blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and heart failure. This was demonstrated in a study published by Janet M. Mullington, Ph.D. and her team in Best Practice & Research of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Those who get enough sleep should also find an impact on their creativity juices. Sleep can help people generate new insights and use more flexible thinking, which makes it easier for people to be creative and think outside of the box. In 2007 Matthew Walker and his colleagues found that sleep helps to encourage ‘unusual connections’, and that the moments after sleep may be the most creative, with the findings published in PNAS.
Getting a good night sleep can impact a person’s life on a number of different levels, from their physical health to academic performance to creativity. Those who often skimp on the sleep should reevaluate and try to get in their full nights rest. They might be pleasantly surprised at the difference it can make.