There is nothing better than a good night’s sleep! It’s relaxing, restorative, and as essential to our overall health as a good diet and exercise. Therefore, it’s surprising that almost half our population doesn’t get enough sleep. It’s so much of a problem that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) refers to our sleep problems as a public health epidemic! There are so many benefits to sleep that we can easily say getting more sleep will improve your life.
Here are 6 important reasons we should all get more sleep:
- Improved memory – Our memory suffers after a night of poor or too little sleep. It is also harder to take in new information the next day. According to WebMD, “Studies have shown that while we sleep, our brains process and consolidate our memories from the day” If we don’t get enough sleep, those memories may not get stored correctly and can be lost.
- Improved mood – When we don’t get enough sleep it can essentially ruin our day. Tiredness leads to irritability and unhappiness. It’s also harder to regulate our emotions when we are overtired and exhausted. This might lead to snapping at our families or co-workers, laughing at inappropriate times or crying in a situation where we normally wouldn’t when well rested. A good night’s sleep can really stabilize our mood and the effect can be felt immediately.
- Improved weight control – Not getting enough sleep is linked to higher BMI’s and obesity. There are a couple of reasons for this. When we are overtired we are less likely to be active and exercise. Not getting enough sleep slows down our metabolism and it also effects the hormone leptin. This hormone is responsible for making us feel full and the result of being tired may mean we eat more and crave more high calorie and high fat foods.
- Improved immunity – A study was done that concluded that people who got 8 or more hours of sleep a night were 3 times less likely to get sick than those who got 7 hours or less . More research is currently being done on this but there is definitely a link between sleep and our immunities. We also recover from illnesses quicker when we are well rested.
- Improved pain tolerance – Studies have shown a link between sleep loss and lower tolerances for pain. Not getting enough sleep actually makes us more sensitive to feeling pain. There is also research indicating that getting a good night’s sleep can actually supplement or replace pain medications. This may have to do with evidence that not getting enough sleep can interfere with the pain relief processes of certain drugs.
- Improved life span – Not getting enough sleep is associated with a shorter life. It’s unclear whether this is caused from sleep alone or other illnesses or factors which affect our ability to get enough sleep. No matter, this association should make all of us strive for a longer night’s rest and 7-9 hours a night is the optimal amount!