Watching just one more episode of House of Cards or getting to the end of that book may seem worth it at 11 p.m. But nothing in life is free.
Tell me how well you slept last night, and I'll tell you how clearly you're thinking today. And how well you feel.
Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis increases the chances of developing chronic illness, engaging in a traffic accident, or incurring a workplace injury.(2)
In addition to keeping us healthy and safe, proper sleep improves our overall quality of life.
“Sleep services all aspects of our body in one way or another: molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness and mood,” says Dr. Merrill Mitler, a neuroscientist at the National Institutes of Health.(4)
Sleep is so integral to our emotional and physical wellbeing, Amnesty International lists sleep deprivation as a form of torture.(7) Still we willingly subject ourselves to the health detriments of too little sleep, hoping to get just one more thing done.
If you aren't getting enough sleep, here's what you're missing:
The Physical and Mental Benefits of Sleep
1) Clearer thinking
Sleep affects decision-making, problem-solving and logic. Sleep essentially recharges a depleted brain. To be effective at work or smart at school, get enough sleep.
2) More energy
With sufficient sleep, you are better able to chase toddlers or finish work projects. And a well-rested person is more likely to exercise.
3) Cardiovascular health
Sleep apnea is more than an annoyance. It can lead to arrhythmias and stroke, and can be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.(2)
Characterized by a loud, uneven snore and interrupted breathing, sleep apnea can be dangerous and should be addressed immediately.(4)
4) Improved mood
Sleep and depression are interwoven into a physiological Möbius strip — insomnia is a symptom of depression, but sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea also induce depression.(2)