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10 Reasons to Turn In Early: The Benefits of Sleep

By HERWriter
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10 Reasons to Turn In Early: Benefits of Sleep Lionello Rovati/Fotolia

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)

5) Strengthened immune system

How important is that Netflix binge? Is it worth your health? Getting less than eight hours of sleep may make you three times more likely to get sick.(3)

6) Weight control

Sleepiness makes you hungrier. Sleep deprivation causes a decrease in the hormone leptin, which sends the “full” signal to your brain.(3)

7) Healthy brain development in children

Sleep is vital to brain development in children and teens. Children need at least 10 hours of sleep, and teens need at least nine hours.(4)

8) Safer roads

Well-rested drivers are safe drivers with faster reflexes and an increased ability to focus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 in 25 drivers has fallen asleep at the wheel in the past 30 days. An estimated 72,000 accidents a year in the United States can be attributed to sleepiness.(6)

Groups at the highest risk for fatigue-related accidents are males between 16 - 29, shift workers and people with untreated sleep apnea or narcolepsy. (5)

9) Better sex life

Exhausted people aren’t sexually active people. A poll showed 26 percent of people are just too tired for sex, WebMD.com reported.(3)

10) Improved memory

While we sleep, our brains process and store information learned during the day. When studying, it’s better to put in an adequate amount of time and then get a restful night’s sleep than to burn the midnight oil. With more sleep, you’ll remember more and perform better on tests the next day.

A good night’s sleep is vital to a healthy body, a well-functioning brain and an effective life. Sleep well and sweet dreams.

Reviewed March 8, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

1) Insufficient Sleep is a Public Health Problem — United States, 2010. CDC.gov. Retrieved March 7, 2016. 

2) Sleep and Chronic Disease. CDC.gov. Retrieved March 7, 2016

3) 9 Surprising Reasons to Get More Sleep. WebMd.com. Retrieved March 7, 2016. 

4) The Benefits of Slumber. NIH.gov. Retrieved March 7, 2016.

5) Drowsy Driving and Automobile Crashes. nhtsa.gov. Retrieved March 7, 2016.

6) Drowsy Driving: Asleep at the Wheel. CDC.gov. Retrieved March 7, 2016.

7) Sleep is More Important Than Food. theenergyproject.com. Retrieved March 7, 2016.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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