Sleep Science

The Science of Sleep

Posted on 2/11/18

We LOVE sleep

And more importantly, our minds and bodies love sleep too. But making sure our bodies get the sleep they need isn't always as easy as it sounds. While we try to thrive at work, in our social life and be the best we can, time for sleep often gets cut short. 

Are you sacrificing sleep? Let’s change that.

Here at Happy Not Perfect, we were tired of being, well... tired, so we decided to make sleep a top priority. We’re glad we did, because it’s one of the single most impactful and enjoyable things we can do for our health: physically, mentally and emotionally.

Let's start with the physical effects of sleep.

When you sleep, your body literally repairs itself.

During the deep stages of sleep, your blood pressure drops and your breathing slows, sending your blood off to repair muscles and tissues that need some extra TLC. So while you snooze, you can rest easy knowing that your organs are detoxing and repairing themselves, and all you have to do is lie there and dream.

Sleep pampers your brain

Sleep has a similar effect on our brains. When you sleep, cerebral spinal fluid pumps rapidly through your brain. Think of this fluid like a vacuum cleaner that sucks up the toxins clogged in your brain (such as the toxic proteins that can lead to dementia). Sleep also helps lock in what you’ve learned for the day, so a good night’s sleep can help preserve memories and facts. So if you want to crush a big test or an important pitch, it’s actually better to let your head hit the pillow than to pull an all-nighter preparing.

Sleep is also intrinsically linked to our emotional health.

Anyone who has ever slogged through a day on just a few hours of sleep knows that you just can’t be as happy or as optimistic when you’re sleep deprived. We’ve all heard about being “hangry,” right? Being so hungry that you’re get angry and annoyed. But have you heard about being “slanky?” It’s when you’re so sleepy it makes you cranky. We’ve all been there. Fortunately, you can avoid chronic “slankiness” by putting sleep at the top of your to-do list. Sleep can help you experience a lot more feel-good moments, days, and weeks. Good, deep sleep has been linked to positive qualities like friendliness, empathy, optimism, and calmness. Feeling good just feels good, doesn’t it?

Now you may be wondering,

How much sleep do I need?

The truth is that everybody is different, so everybody has different needs when it comes to sleep. That being said, scientists have pegged the magic number at seven.

This means that the average adult should aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night. Of course, you’ll need more if you’re recovering from a cold or if you just crushed a killer workout class – your body needs the extra snoozing to repair itself. Not only will seven hours of sleep per night leave you feeling more alert and refreshed during the day, but this number also has long-term benefits. Researchers have linked seven hours of sleep to longevity and improved brain health. These are pretty great benefits, if you ask us. And all you need to do is log seven hours of sleep a night!

Now we understand that that’s easier said than done, which is why we've got a few tricks to help you get there .