What difference could that extra hour of sleep actually make on your life? Well quite a lot, experts seem to say. Studies show that the gap between getting just enough sleep, and getting too little sleep may affect your health, your mood and even your weight. If you are getting less that the average seven or eight hours of sleep per night, then here are here are seven reasons that you should shut down your computer, turn off the lights, and go to bed an hour early tonight.
- Better Health – Getting a better night’s sleep clearly won’t grant you immunity from disease, but many studies have found a link between insufficient sleep and some serious health problems, such as heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes and obesity. In some cases health risks from sleep loss only become serious after some years, but that might not always be true however. A study simulated the effects of the disturbed sleep patterns of shift workers on 10 young healthy adults. After four days, three of them had blood glucose levels that qualified as pre-diabetic.
- Less Pain – If you’re a sufferer of chronic pain, or acute pain from a recent injury you may have sustained, getting a good night’s sleep may actually help ease this pain. Again studies have shown a link between sleep loss and a lower pain threshold. Unfortunately though, being in pain can make it a lot harder to sleep. Research has shown that getting a good sleep can supplement medication for pain. If pain is keeping you up at night, there are also medications available that combine a pain reliever with a sleep aid.
- Reduced Injury Risk – Funnily enough, getting the right amount of sleep could actually keep you safer. A lack of sleep has been linked to many notorious disasters, and in the U.S. one out of five auto accidents results from drowsy driving, that’s about 1 million crashes a year.
- Better Mood – Getting enough sleep wont guarantee a sunny disposition, but it is obvious that when you’re exhausted, you’re more likely to be cranky. Also studies say, that not getting enough sleep affects your emotional regulation. And when you are overtired you’re more likely to snap at a boss, burst into tears or start laughing uncontrollably.
- Better Weight Control – Getting a regular good night’s sleep can help you maintain your weight, and conversely, sleep loss goes along with an increased risk of weight gain. If you’re overtired, you might be less likely to have the energy to go for that jog or cook a healthy dinner after work. Also the hormone Leptin plays a key role in making you feel full up, however when you don’t get enough sleep your leptin levels drop.
- Clearer Thinking – Have you ever woken up after a bad night’s sleep, feeling fuzzy and easily confused, like your brain can’t get out of first gear? Well, sleep loss affects how you think. It impairs your cognition, attention and decision making. Studies have found that people who are sleep-deprived are substantially worse at solving logic or maths problems than when they’re well-rested.
- Better Memory – If you’re feeling forgetful, then a lack of sleep could be to blame. It has been shown, that whilst we are asleep our brains process and consolidate our memories from the day. If you don’t get enough sleep, it seems like those memories might not get stored correctly and end up lost.