Everyone knows how terrible the day can be if they didn't get enough sleep the night before.
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The occasional bad night of sleep probably won't have too much impact on your health other than making you groggy and tired for the day.
However, consistently getting less sleep than is needed can have many detrimental effects on your overall health. Most experts recommend getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
If you aren't getting that much, it's time to make over your bedtime routine and start getting into bed earlier.
Understanding the negative consequences of skimping on sleep may be all the motivation you need to hit the sack earlier tonight and every night.
1. Lengthen Your Lifespan
Everyone wants to live a nice long life, and the things you do to take care of yourself play a big role in how old you get.
Research shows that women who regularly get fewer than five hours of sleep at night are more likely to die than women who get more sleep.
Experts aren't exactly sure why this is, but they do know that sleep affects quality of life, and not getting enough can shorten your lifespan.
Getting too much sleep can also shorten your life.
2. Maintain A Healthy Weight
A lack of sleep increases stress hormones as well as those that make you hungry.
When you don't get enough sleep, you are more likely to overeat or make poor eating choices because you are hungrier than when you get adequate amounts of sleep.
Research also shows that dieters who get enough shut-eye lose more fat than those who don't sleep enough.
If you need to lose weight, going to bed earlier can help jump-start your metabolism and get you on track to reaching your goals.
3. Improves Mood
When you are tired, you may be cranky and get upset more easily. This interferes with quality of life, but can also have detrimental effects on your general mental health.
Chronically sleep-deprived people may be at a higher risk of certain mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. On the other hand, getting a good amount of sleep each night can help you remain happier and more relaxed, helping combat such problems.
4. Boosts Your Immunity
Your immune system is responsible for battling bacteria, viruses and other invaders that can make you sick.
When your body is tired, it cannot adequately do this, leaving you more prone to illnesses, including the common cold.
When you allow your body to recharge and reset as you sleep at night, you boost your immunity by optimizing conditions inside your body that make it easier to fight off illnesses and diseases.
5. Prevent Accidents
Being tired makes you more prone to injury, as a tired and foggy brain and body can alter your concentration and balance.
In fact, studies show that being tired makes you more likely to get into car accidents and that even a single night of poor sleep increases the risks.
Some research shows that accidents as a result of a tired driver are more of a problem than drunk driving, but don't get as much attention.
6. Improve Your Memory
When you sleep, your brain works to form new connections when it comes to things you've learned and memories you've made over the course of the day.
As you rest, your brain cements these things so that they can be recalled when you wake up and for years afterward.
Whether you are actively trying to learn something new or just want to improve your overall memory, getting enough sleep is absolutely one of the best things you can do for yourself.
7. Battle Inflammation
Inflammation can cause any number of health issues in your body, including arthritis, heart disease, stroke and premature aging.
People with sleep disorders, as well as those who consistently get fewer than five or six hours of sleep each night are at an increased risk of inflammatory proteins in the blood, which can lead to these and many other health issues.
On the other hand, getting plenty of shut-eye every night helps battle that inflammation, keeping you healthy.
8. Control Stress
Everyone deals with a certain amount of stress, but prolonged or severe stress can really do a number on your health.
High stress levels can increase your blood pressure, which in turn increases your risk of developing heart disease. When you sleep, you restore your body and mind, and being well-rested helps you feel more relaxed.
This means that you can get through the day without unnecessary stress levels harming your health.
Other studies show that adequate amounts of sleep control your cholesterol, another way to help lower your stress levels and your risk of heart disease.
9. Get Creative
Sleeping enough can help you spur creativity in many areas of your life.
As you sleep, your brain restructures and reorganizes skills and facts you've learned, which makes you more creative when you work to recall those things.
In addition, research shows that getting enough sleep strengthens your emotional connection to skills and facts, which can boost creativity as well.
Whether you're pursuing a new skill or fostering a current one, getting more sleep can help take you to all-new levels.
10. Improve Performance
Whether you are in school or the workforce, getting enough sleep can improve your performance.
Studies consistently show that children who don't get enough sleep do poorly in school and can't keep up with their classmates, especially those who get adequate amounts of sleep at night.
Lack of sleep can interfere with learning and memory retention, so it makes sense that going to bed at a
reasonable time can improve your performance the following day.
This translates to better work in the classroom, but you can also assume that lack of sleep can get in the way of your performance on the job too.
If you aren't getting enough sleep, it's time to make some changes to your routine to get you where you need to be.
Experts suggest moving your bedtime up by 15 minutes every week or so until you are sleeping for seven to nine hours each night.
If you are still finding it hard to get enough sleep or you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, talk to a doctor to rule out another problem that could be keeping you from getting the sleep you need.
Once you start getting the sleep you need, you'll notice that you feel better, have more energy, are better able to concentrate and make better choices when it comes to eating. Sleep is one of the most important changes you can make to ensure that you are living a healthy lifestyle.