You might ask yourself what difference an extra hour of sleep might make in your life. Experts say, quite a lot. Their studies show the gap between getting just enough sleep and getting too little sleep may affect your health, your mood, your weight and even your sex life. Isn’t there at least one of these things you would like improved? Now if you are getting less than the seven or eight hours of sleep a night that is recommended, here are nine reasons why you should shut off the computer, turn off the lights and head to bed an hour earlier than usual.
- You won’t be granted immunity from disease but studies have found a link between insufficient sleep and some serious health problems as heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes and obesity.
- Doesn’t everybody want a better sex life? That’s a no-brainer. The National Sleep Foundation reports that up to 26% of people say their sex lives tend to suffer because they’re just too tired. Impaired sleep can be associated with lower testosterone levels in men, as reported by studies.
- If you have acute pain or chronic pain, more sleep may actually help you hurt less. Sleep studies have shown a link between sleep loss and a lower pain threshold but unfortunately, pain can hinder sleep.
- Sleep deprivation might actually put you in danger. This condition has been linked with many disasters and the Institute of Medicine estimates one out of five auto accidents in the U.S. results from drowsy driving (about 1 million crashes a year).
- More sleep won’t necessarily guarantee a better mood and sunny disposition, but you have most likely noticed you are less cranky after sleep opposed to when you are exhausted.
- Even your weight can be affected by better sleep. Sleep loss actually goes along with an increased risk of weight loss. If you’re overtired you might be less likely to have the energy to exercise or cook a healthy dinner after work.
- Then there is the physiological part because the hormone leptin plays a key role in making you feel full. Without the required amount of sleep, leptin levels drop. The result is that people who are tired are just plain hungrier and the urge to piece on high-fat and high-calorie foods is greater.
- Having a bad night of sleeping always leaves you fuzzy and perhaps a little disoriented in your thinking. Sometimes it’s awfully hard to get your brain out of first gear and on with the day.
- Sleep loss could be blamed for feeling forgetful as well. While we sleep, our brains process and consolidate our memories from the day. Too little sleep makes it seem like those memories might not get stored correctly, and possibly lost. This can also decrease the chances of developing false memories, according to several experiments.
- Last but not least is maintaining a stronger immunity to those common colds. Research was completed with 150 people who had their sleep habits monitored for 2 weeks and exposed them to a cold virus. Those who got seven hours of sleep or less were almost 3 times more likely to get sick as those who got 8 hours of sleep.
Work around those schedules and strive for those 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. See if this doesn’t actually give you more zip in your step and a clear mind and memory. Wouldn’t we all be better off with these attributes to start the day?
–Dr Fredda Branyon