Sleep is crucial to our health and wellness. When you wake up refreshed, you’re ready to conquer any of the challenges that may lie ahead. The sun shines a little brighter, you have a bit of extra pep in your step, and your worries seem less overwhelming. On the other hand, a sleepless night only leads to a dreary day watching the clock and awaiting the, hopefully, better sleep that lies ahead. If you could only push through the next few hours…

Push through? Wait, a second! Life is meant to be lived, to be embraced, to be cherished…and restful, high quality sleep helps to make it possible for you thoroughly enjoy the beauty of the present moment. If you’re not prioritizing sleep as an integral part of your wellness routine, well, maybe it’s time you rethink your priorities.

In the meantime, here are a few fun facts about sleep that may open your eyes to the mysterious world of slumber.

 

Sleeping pills don’t help you to sleep better. They just help you to forget how poorly you slept the night before.

If you’ve been following our blog, you already know that the higher the percentage of REM sleep, the more restful it is. According to Dr. Daniel J. Buysse, a sleep medicine expert and professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, sleeping pills primarily increase the amount of medium-depth, non-REM sleep you get in a night. In a piece for Psychology Today, Matthew J. Edlund concludes that the capacity of sleeping pills “to induce amnesia may account for why so many pill takers feel they slept “better” through the night.”

 

When you sleep, your brain goes into its auto-cleaning cycle.

Known as the glymphatic system, the brain’s cleaning system goes into overdrive while you sleep to purge the brain of organic waste materials that build up during waking hours. Removing unwanted proteins and metabolic waste, the glymphatic system helps protect your body from Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders. And, did you know that when you sleep the brain’s cells actually shrink, allowing this process to be even more effective?

 

Your first moments of being awake are literally supercharged for creativity.

Creativity isn’t just important to artists; in fact, everyone can benefit from a strengthened ability to find ingenious solutions to everyday problems. When you first awaken, you are in a dream state that can result in heightened creativity and enhanced problem-solving. To make the most of this early morning period of improved imagination, reflect immediately on issues and challenges that perplexed you yesterday. If necessary, write them down the night before, and consult your notes as soon as you awaken.

 

There is a correlation between light pollution and a larger waistline.

For centuries, humans awakened and slept with the natural cycles of the sunrise and sunset. Today, artificial light from lamps, laptops, and televisions change the way our bodies relax into sleep. But, did you know that long-term exposure to artificial light during sleeping hours may play a role in today’s rising rates of depression? In addition, research has found a distinct correlation in women who reported that their bedrooms were “light enough to see across” and larger waistlines.

 

Having a bedbug infestation doesn’t mean you have to throw out your mattress.

As nasty as bedbugs are, an infestation of bedbugs doesn’t necessarily mean you need to throw out your mattress. After vacuuming your mattress thoroughly, you can purchase a specially designed cover to encase your mattress, properly launder your bedding, and remake your bed. But, you will need to leave the case on for a period of at least 18 months. (That’s how long it takes for the creepy crawlies to starve to death. Yuck.)

Which of these five facts was the most shocking to you?