Sleep. It’s something we all wish we had more of. Even so, it’s still there. So. enigmatic. While yawning and feeling tired all the time is annoying, a lack of sleep can have a significant impact on your health. Experts recommend that you get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night, but what does that mean in practice?
- Your Immune System Can Be Boosted By Sleep
When your body gets the rest it requires, your immune cells and proteins are better able to fight off whatever is thrown at them, such as colds or the flu. And, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s well-rested sleep experts, getting enough sleep can help vaccines work better, which is obviously a plus.
- Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight
Sleeping for eight hours won’t make you lose weight on its own, but it will keep you from gaining weight. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone. Your body also produces less leptin, a hormone that tells you when you’re full. Put them both together, and you’ve got yourself a dangerous late-night snacking combo, my friend. Furthermore, if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll become more stressed and lack the energy to fight off junk food cravings. Just thinking about it makes us tired.
- Getting enough sleep can help your heart.
Sleep deprivation can lead to heart problems such as high blood pressure or heart attacks. Because lack of sleep causes your body to release cortisol, a stress hormone that causes your heart to work harder, it’s important to get enough sleep. Your heart, like your immune system, requires rest in order to function effectively. Another reason to “love” sleeping.
- A better night’s sleep equals a better mood
The old adage “getting up on the right side of the bed” holds some truth. Sleeping can lead to good moods, regardless of which side of the bed you roll out of. And it makes perfect sense. If you sleep well, you will feel refreshed when you wake up. Your energy levels will soar if you get enough sleep. Life’s little challenges will not annoy you as much when your energy is high. You’re not as angry when you’re not annoyed. You are happy if you are not angry. So, get a good night’s sleep and everyone around you will thank you.
- Sleeping Can Help You Work More Productively
You may think you’re impressing your boss by working late, but skipping a good night’s sleep could have a negative impact at work or school. Sleep has been linked to increased concentration and cognitive function, both of which can help you be more productive at work. However, a restless night can leave you frazzled, making it more likely that you’ll make mistakes that a cup of coffee won’t fix. The more tired you are, the more likely you are to reach for a cup of coffee in the afternoon. While this may appear to solve your afternoon crash problem, the additional caffeine late in the day may set you up for another sleepless night. It’s a vicious cycle, to say the least.
- Sleep Deprivation Can Be Harmful. Literally.
According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, if you only get six to seven hours of sleep, you’re twice as likely to get into a car accident as if you get a full eight hours. If you sleep for less than five hours, your chances of having a car accident quadruple! That’s because when your brain isn’t fully rested, your reaction time slows dramatically. We don’t know about you, but those numbers make us want to crawl into our pajamas and fall asleep as soon as possible.
- Sleep Can Help You Exercise More Effectively
Guess what they discovered when they looked into the effects of sleep deprivation on basketball players? They weren’t very good basketball players when they didn’t get enough sleep. (#Duh) You may be asking yourself, “So what?” In my dreams, I’m only MVP.” Sleep, on the other hand, has an impact on all types of exercise performance. Hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and muscle recovery are all aided by under-the-covers recovery. Furthermore, sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on strength and power.
- Sleep enhances memory.
Even though sleep provides your body with the rest it requires, your mind continues to work. It’s actually the day’s memories being processed and consolidated. Who knows where those memories go if you don’t get enough sleep. Worse yet, your mind may actually fabricate memories.
The bottom line is that sleep is beneficial. It’s also necessary. Roy Kohler, MD, a sleep medicine specialist at SCL Health in Montana, reaffirms what we already know about sleep’s benefits, citing research that shows people who get less sleep are heavier, eat more, have a higher BMI, and are more likely to develop diabetes. “For adults, consistent sleep of seven hours a night is recommended just for daytime functioning—being on task, alert for the day, and able to concentrate, and not being so moody and tired during the day,” Dr. Kohler says.
While your sleeping patterns will undoubtedly fluctuate, we hope that this evidence is sufficient to persuade you to aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night so that your mind and body can fully benefit.
Do you require assistance in counting sheep? Create a nighttime routine that relaxes your mind and body, such as meditating. Oh, and don’t worry about checking your phone or tablet in the morning; all of your social media notifications will be there. Sweet slumbers!