If you’re like many people today, getting the right amount of sleep can be challenging—you’re busy with work and family obligations, your mind wanders at night, and staying asleep can be difficult as well. However, if you don’t get enough sleep every night, you might feel groggy the next day and less alert when it comes to work tasks; this leads to being less productive at work and paying less attention to your responsibilities at home. Here are some of the many benefits of getting a good night sleep.
Studies show that sleep plays an important role in keeping our bodies and minds at peak levels, which means we’re likely to live longer if we get enough sleep. Some studies even suggest that inadequate sleep is linked to early death from heart disease, diabetes, and infections. So don’t forget about your ZZZs—they could save your life!
Better Mood and Ability to Cope with Stress
Lack of sleep can lead to irritability, depression, and general moodiness. Tossing and turning in bed at night because you can’t fall asleep may increase your stress levels, making it even harder to relax when you finally do get some shuteye. Not only that but feeling tired during your waking hours will negatively impact your daily productivity and focus. Being able to cope with stress better is another benefit that comes with getting good sleep.
Even if you’re not feeling drowsy, your brain may be struggling to stay alert. It turns out that less sleep can wreak havoc on your memory—particularly on an older adult’s ability to learn new things. According to one study in Neurobiology of Aging, senior citizens who slept for less than five hours per night for six nights in a row showed significant memory deficits compared with those who slept normally.
A Happier, Better Relationship with Your Partner
Your love life is also impacted by how well you sleep. When you don’t get enough shuteye, it can throw off your natural hormone levels and make you feel tired, irritable, and depressed. Tossing and turning throughout the night can also put a strain on your relationship with your partner—especially if he or she is awake at your late-night antics!
Lower Risk of Heart Disease
A good night’s sleep is associated with lower blood pressure and levels of dangerous triglycerides. Both can reduce your risk for heart disease, according to research published in September 2010 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. In another study, published in January 2008 in Proceedings of National Academy Sciences, people who slept five hours or less per night had more signs and symptoms related to coronary artery disease than those who slept seven hours.
Lower Risk of Cancer
Studies have found that getting adequate sleep may reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Studies suggest that, for colorectal cancer, people who sleep for eight hours or more per night had less than half as much risk as those who slept less than six hours daily. The study found that early-stage breast cancer survivors who slept five to seven hours nightly were twice as likely to see their disease return compared with women who got an average amount of shut-eye (eight hours).
Lower Risk of Diabetes
If you’re sleeping less than six hours, you are more likely to develop diabetes. This is because getting too little sleep can interfere with your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. If insulin levels in your blood remain elevated for prolonged periods of time, you may eventually begin to produce abnormal amounts of insulin—which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Getting a good night’s sleep can also help lower your risk for developing other chronic conditions, including heart disease and cancer.
Reduce Pain from Conditions Such as Rheumatoid Arthritis
A growing body of research suggests that getting enough sleep—seven to nine hours each night—can reduce pain and relieve symptoms in people with certain types of rheumatoid arthritis. In one study, published in 2010 in Arthritis Care & Research, patients reported they had less pain, stiffness, fatigue and depression when they got more sleep. Another study found that women who slept six hours or less per night were almost twice as likely to have high levels of a protein linked to inflammation than those who slept eight hours per night.
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