Although many of us know that sleep is vital and important for our health, 41 million American workers still aren’t getting adequate and necessary shuteye.
It’s unfortunate that so many people aren’t sleeping enough because sleep deprivation can have an extreme toll on one’s health and can put one at risk for:
- Heart Disease
- Heart Attack
- Heart Failure
- Irregular Heartbeat
- High Blood Pressure
In addition to those negative health effects, lack of sleep has also been tied to an increase in accidents around the world. Disasters such as the 1979 nuclear accident at the Three Mile Island, 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, and Exxon Valduez oil spill were caused in part due to lack of sleep.
If you keep putting off sleep, we advise you to stop! Not only does lack of sleep negatively affect your health it also impairs your attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving abilities. Why would you want to subject yourself to such negative effects when you could function better with some quality sleep? Here are some of the major benefits of sleep:
1. Better Memory: According to News in Health, sleeping after learning something new can actually improve our memory. When we first learn something new, the information is in a “very raw and fragile form.” During the deeper stages of sleep, our memories become more cemented in our brain.
When in REM(the sleep stage when we dream), related memories are linked together and emotional memories are processed. So, if you need to remember some important information for work or school, we advise you to sleep on it!
2. Better Quality of Life: In a sleep study, people who slept six to nine hours each night reported having a higher quality of life and ranked lower for depression. In comparison, people who slept less than 6 hours or slept more than 9 hours each night reported having a lower quality of life and had higher scores for depression severity. And according to a 2010 sleep study of women, “more deaths occurred in women who got less than five hours or more than six and a half hours of sleep per night.”
3. More Creativity: When we go to sleep and dream, our brain is still very active and connecting ideas and thoughts throughout the night. Even after you’ve gone to sleep after trying to solve a problem or two all day, your brain actively keeps trying to solve problems while you sleep. As a matter of fact, people are actually “33 percent more likely to infer connections among distantly related ideas” after sleeping.
4. Improved Attention Span: Your concentration improves when you have the right dosage of body chemicals such as dopamine(a pleasure chemical) and adrenaline. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t get the right levels of these chemicals. This negatively affects your concentration level and attention span throughout the day. Just one night of bad quality sleep can result in ADHD symptoms such as “forgetfulness and difficulty maintaining concentration.” Our advice: try to get the right amount of sleep without having to rely on an alarm to wake you up.
5. Lower Stress Level: When we don’t get enough quality sleep, our body goes into a “state of stress.” Both our blood pressure and the production of our stress hormones increase when we are deprived of sleep. Also, when we are tired we are more likely to become agitated and impatient which in turn can increase stress levels.
Stress can also affect your overall quality of sleep. For example, if you are stressed out you are more likely to have trouble falling or staying asleep. The best way to alleviate your stress is to try to get more sleep at night and create a healthy sleep hygiene.
You can out more about the health benefits of sleep by checking out this sleep article on Huffington Post.