10 Reasons to Prioritize Sleep

We’ve long recognized the importance of self-care and finding ways to incorporate that not just in daily life, but also in travel. Whether it’s taking a few days off work to recharge or planning a full self-care-focused vacation retreat, making time to rest is key to a happy, healthy life.

Our friends at Canyon Ranch are experts in self-care and wellness vacations, of course, and their upcoming sleep immersion event at Canyon Ranch Tucson focuses on one of the most important aspects of rest and wellness—getting a good night’s sleep.

Woman with brown hair, sleeping with a smile on her face. The bedding is white, she's wearing blue pajamas with thin, white stripes, and there is a light-filled window out of focus in the background and a plant with green leaves out of focus in the foreground.
Photo credit: Mladen Zivkovic/Shutterstock

Here, they share ten excellent reasons why we should all make sleeping well one of our top priorities.

1. You’ll Help Your Brain

We simply don’t have the maximum brainpower we need to function when we’re tired all the time. Sleep is the essential downtime that gray matter needs to consolidate memories, process emotions, and simply recharge to focus clearly the next day.

2. You’ll Shine at Work

You might think that burning the midnight oil will help you get ahead, but sleep is essential if you want to bring your A-game to any job. Not only do you need a full night’s sleep to be focused and productive, you also need to be rested and recharged to be creative at work.

“Research done by Rasch and Born shows that sleep (particularly REM, or the rapid-eye movement stages of sleep) is important for memory and that dreaming may offer a crucial ‘incubation’ period for the brain to process problems and come up with solutions,” explains Dustin Nabhan, VP Health & Performance at Canyon Ranch.

3. You’ll Keep Your Genes in Good Working Order

Our genes tell our bodies—our cells, to be precise—exactly what to do, day in and day out. For genes to function properly, you need plenty of sleep. A 2013 study at the University of Surrey found that chronic sleep deprivation (defined as less than six hours of sleep every night for just one week) affects the functioning of about three percent of genes.

“That may not sound like much, but it’s hundreds of genes, including some that influence inflammation, immunity, and how we respond to stress,” shares Nabhan.

4. You Can Control Pain Better

Some 100 million Americans are dealing with chronic pain, from backaches and arthritis to fibromyalgia and neuropathy; nearly half of people who experience insomnia say they have chronic pain as well. In fact, there’s a circular relationship between the two: Poor sleep makes the perception of pain worse, and pain—not surprisingly—often interferes with sleep. That’s why techniques for getting enough sleep should be a key part of any pain-management plan. A small study in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy found that using cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focused on alleviating both pain and insomnia, significantly helped the participants when it came to sleep and disability from pain. This two-pronged approach also eased their depression and fatigue.

5. You’ll Bounce Back From Troubles More Easily

Emotional resilience is the ability to recover from setbacks and keep moving ahead. Doing that doesn’t come easily to everyone, but you can build up your capacity to bounce back by establishing a plan that includes adequate sleep.

When you’re well-rested, you’re less on edge, which makes it easier to manage tough feelings like anger and sadness when they arise. Emotional awareness offers a huge opportunity to live your best life, and sleep is a chance to honor conscious and subconscious emotions.

6. You’ll Look Younger

To put it simply, sleep is your skin’s best friend: It boosts the production of collagen; allows for skin repair and cell renewal; lessens breakouts; and helps skin stay hydrated, which contributes to firmness. A small study of women in their thirties and forties at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland found that participants who were sleep-deprived showed signs of premature skin aging and their skin was less able to recover after exposure to the sun. In a triple whammy to the poor sleepers, researchers also found that this group was likely to weigh more.

7. Your Relationships Could Improve

Who hasn’t felt snappish when feeling exhausted? Tapping into your natural kindness and patience is much harder to do when the energy tank is chronically on “empty.” And, over time, that can take a toll on the people closest to you. When you’re well-rested, though, it’s easier to take a deep breath and act in a way that shows the caring, loving person you are.

8. Your Sex Life Will Get a Boost

Sleep gives us more energy and improves our mood and libido. And for men, getting enough sleep is also linked to the ability to achieve and maintain an erection. Why? Poor sleep can reduce levels of both growth hormone and testosterone in guys—two key factors in male “performance.”

9. You May Find it Easier to Deal with Winter Blues

For those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the darker, shorter days of autumn and winter tend not only to bring on depression, but also sleeplessness. Some research has found that many SAD sufferers tend to think about sleep in much the same way that insomniacs do. For example, although someone with SAD may spend more time in bed than someone without it, sufferers don’t necessarily sleep more, although they think they do.

Misconceptions about how much sleep you’re actually getting can exacerbate depression symptoms, and understanding this may help you prioritize good sleep during the year’s colder months when you need it most. Treatments that work well for insomniacs—like cognitive-behavioral techniques that change defeating patterns of thinking—may also be useful in helping those with SAD to both feel better and sleep more soundly.

10. You May Live Longer

Sleep is the time your body repairs itself and gives your immune system a chance to recharge, enabling you to better fight off disease and illness. Even 30-minute cat naps can help. Research at the Harvard School of Public Health found daily snoozes can reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 30 percent. “Nighttime sleep and naps both reduce stress, which may be a reason that sleep appears to boost longevity,” says Nabhan.

Now, who’s ready for bed?

The Canyon Ranch Mastering Sleep Immersion Retreat runs October 23-28, 2022 at Canyon Ranch Tucson. Space is still available, so reserve your spot today.

Led by Dr. Michael Grandner, one of the world’s leading sleep authorities, you’ll gain the personal insight and practical skills to truly understand and attain proper sleep. Leave with the ability to enjoy the best version of yourself—focused, productive, and happy.

If you can’t make it to the Immersive Sleep Retreat, but still want to focus on rest, wellness, and self-care with the experts at Canyon Ranch, the Manifest team has worked with them to put together two rejuvenating trips—to Canyon Ranch Tucson and Canyon Ranch Lenox, MA—ready to book on our Experiences page.