Would you be surprised to hear about research pointing to a single treatment, without any side effects, that has been linked to improved memory, increased concentration, a strengthened immune system, and a decreased risk of suffering from accidents? For most of us, this treatment would consist simply of sleeping an hour more each night. Sleep deprivation is considered by many researchers to be a highly solvable, yet under recognized, public health epidemic. The gap between getting too little sleep and enough sleep can have significant effects on your health, mood, weight, and even your sex life. Take a look at these surprising reasons why you should get more sleep and consider getting more shut-eye tonight.
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Lower Risk of Accidental Injury
Sleep deprivation has been linked to many notorious disasters, including the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, as well as almost one million auto accidents per year in the United States. Basically all types of accidents are more likely when you’re exhausted. On the other side of the coin, your ability to react quickly and respond physically to the demands of a potential outdoor or household accident is greatly improved with more sleep. A recent study among university athletes showed improved physical agility and speed when these athletes strove to sleep ten hours per night.
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Better Sex Life
The National Sleep Foundation reports that 26 percent of respondents to its survey experience detriments to their sex lives because they are too tired. And I’m sure the remaining three quarters of the population has a few anecdotal stories to tell about being too tired for sex on occasion.
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Although much more research is needed to identify the exact link between adequate sleep and improved immunity, people who get less than 7 hours of sleep are almost three times as likely to get sick as people who get at least 8 hours of sleep.
Not everyone who gets sufficient sleep has an entirely pleasant disposition, but it’s obvious for most of us that sleep deprived people are much crankier than those who are getting enough sleep. And what may be surprising for many is that while napping has been shown to improve cognitive functioning after periods of sleep deprivation, it does not significantly repair negative moods resulting from sleep deprivation. Regular sleep rhythms including sufficient sleep, more than 8 hours, are the best way to keep your mood up and your emotional volatility to a minimum.
There are both behavioral and physiological factors of sleep deprivation that contribute to weight gain. If you are overtired, you tend to have less energy for daily physical exercise or to cook healthy homemade cuisine. Internally, your body will feel less full without the regeneration of the hormone leptin that occurs during a good night’s sleep. Feeling less full, despite consuming adequate calories, leads you to seek high-calorie and high-fat indulgences to satisfy your body’s hunger. To avoid these two powerful factors and to get better control over your body weight, simply get more sleep.
When you don’t get enough sleep, many of your body’s restorative functions are unable to complete themselves. One of these processes that has significant side effects in our daily lives is the brain’s consolidation of memories from throughout the day. If you don’t get enough sleep, these memories can be improperly stored or even lost. Surprisingly, there is additional research to suggest that sleep deprived brains are at an increased risk of developing false memories. The bottom line is that you should find a way to get more sleep so you won’t forget what happened to you today and so you won’t remember what didn’t happen.