Skeptical of how the benefits of a good night’s sleep can (and will) change your life? Check out these interesting facts about how sleep impacts your body, whether you’re getting too much or not enough. Already a great sleeper? Check them out anyway, you might learn something new! With a good night’s sleep you:
Some of the biggest accidents in recent history (i.e. the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl1, etc.) have had sleep deprivation as a contributing factor. Not to mention the thousands of deaths on U.S. roads each year because drivers are getting behind the wheel when they are too tired (reaction times when drowsy can be as slow as if driving while intoxicated).
Think and learn better
When you lose sleep you eliminate the process of consolidating your memories, making it hard to retain what you’ve experienced that day. According to WebMD, lack of sleep hurts your cognitive processes including “attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving.”
Avoid serious health problems (heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc) Need we say more?
If sleep is a way to ward off a potential heart attack, it’s time to call it a night!
Have a better sex life
Getting more sleep could mean that you’ll have more energy and decreased tension with your partner, adding up to a higher libido. Another cause of a sexual slump is discussed in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2002 suggesting that “many men with sleep apnea also have low testosterone levels.” Talk with your doctor about treatment options, such as the Transcend® miniCPAP™.
It’s kind of a catch-22; the symptoms of depression can be heightened by a lack of sleep, yet depression can make it difficult for some to sleep. On the upside, treating one of the problems typically helps treat the other, so don’t hesitate to talk with your doctor about treatment options.
Have healthier-looking skin
You’ve seen them – the dark, sometimes puffy skin under someone’s eyes after they’ve had a bad night of sleep. Not only does a lack of sleep wreak havoc on your eyes, it can lead to more fine lines and wrinkles popping up over time. When you’re not getting enough sleep, your body releases cortisol (a stress hormone), which can break down skin collagen. Talk about getting some beauty sleep!
Have a better memory
Without the deep sleep we need, the brain is unable to have events called “sharp wave ripples” that, according to WebMD, are responsible for consolidating memory. ”The ripples also transfer learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex of the brain, where long-term memories are stored.”
Are more likely to stay at a healthy weight
Some studies suggest a correlation between a lack of sleep and the increase of hunger and appetite. Not only are you hungrier, your tendency to reach for high-fat, high-carbohydrate food also increases.
Have better judgment than someone who is sleep deprived
When your mind is under-rested, you interpret the world around you differently than if you had gotten the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep. This makes it harder for your brain to make the decisions it needs to.
It’s great to look at all of the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep, however simply reading about the benefits won’t give you the benefits. Starting tonight, go to bed early, and stick to a routine where you’re getting between 7-9 hours of sleep. It’s an important pillar of your health, and worth putting some effort into.
1 Peri, Camille. WebMD. "10 Surprising Effects of Lack of Sleep." WebMD. WebMD, 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.
2 Peri, Camille. WebMD. "10 Surprising Effects of Lack of Sleep." WebMD. WebMD, 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.
3 Lavie, P. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism; vol 87: pp 3394-3398.
4 Peri, Camille. WebMD. "10 Surprising Effects of Lack of Sleep." WebMD. WebMD, 13 Feb. 2014. Web. 01 Dec. 2015