Putting sleep on the back-burner of your priority list can have a ripple effect in all aspects of your life. The gap between getting too little and just enough sleep could have a major impact on your overall health and wellness. Sleep affects all aspects of life, including your mood, weight, and even your sex life.
If you get less than seven to nine hours of sleep during a typical night, here are some reasons why you might want to change your sleep habits and, in turn, improve your quality of life.
Sleep boosts immunity
Although a good night’s sleep can’t protect you from disease, many studies have linked insufficient sleep to serious health hazards. These include heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Recent research has also shown that sleep deprivation lessens the effectiveness of vaccines which could help you ward off diseases, such as the common cold, flus, and other illnesses. Even short-term sleep loss has an effect on overall health. One study found that after four days of disturbed sleep patterns, three out of ten young, healthy adults had blood glucose levels that qualified them as pre-diabetic.
Sleep improves libido
The National Sleep Foundation conducted a poll that found that more than one-quarter of American adults say that their sex lives suffer because they’re too sleepy. For men, lack of sleep can lower testosterone levels, although the reason behind this isn’t clear.
Adequate sleep will also increase your sex drive and improve your mental and physical conditioning so you can be a better lover.
Sleep reduces pain
As nature’s pain reliever, sleep increases pain tolerance and boosts the effectiveness of pain medications. For fibromyalgia patients who suffer from chronic pain, sleep is often a key component of their treatment plan.
Sleep improves learning ability and memory
Research has shown that sleep helps consolidate memories during the day, and pulling an “all-nighter” and skimping on sleep may be counterproductive for students. For older adults, missing out on sleep can age the brain and decrease memory and reasoning abilities.
Northwestern University researchers found that memory of a recently learned skill is strengthened by sleep. Focus, attention, and vigilance are all negatively affected by sleep deprivation, which make it difficult to learn new information.
Sleep loss can be to blame for a faulty memory, particularly for older adults. Some research suggests that lack of sleep increases the odds of developing false memories, too.
Sleep keeps your weight stable
Hormones which regulate appetite are depleted in the sleep-deprived. Studies have shown that sleep deprived individuals are more likely to choose junk food than well-rested people. The sleep-deprived brain craves junk food which is typically high in sugar and fat because it uses glucose as its main energy source. Lack of sleep causes metabolic disturbances which can lead to obesity and obesity-related conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Sleep protects you from injury
Getting enough sleep could help keep you safe. The Institute of Medicine estimates that 20 percent of car accidents in the U.S. are a result of drowsy driving – about one million crashes per year. The sleep-deprived are more accident prone than the well-rested, too. Household accidents, such as tripping or falling off a ladder, can have serious consequences, too.
Sleep levels your mood and reduces stress
Getting enough sleep might not make you an optimist, but not getting enough is certain to sabotage your mood. Insomniacs produce more cortisol, a stress hormone, than those who are well rested. During this point, the body is in a hyper-aroused condition where it is difficult to wind down, which causes additional stress.
It’s common for those who lack sleep to be irritable and easily frustrated. Over time, sleep loss can lead to chronic depression. This occurs because disrupted or inadequate sleep can eventually lead to increased tension and bad temper.
Sleep affects how you think
Sleep loss impairs attention, decision making, and cognition. Sleep-deprived people do worse at solving math and logic problems than people who are well-rested. If you are exhausted, you may make an odd mistake like leave your keys in the fridge.
For more information about the importance of sleep and sleep quality, call The Los Angeles Sleep Study Institute at 1-855-690-0563.