In today’s career-driven, technologically-savvy world, many people don’t make sleep a priority. However, getting enough rest is crucial for optimal health and should be elevated as being just as vital as daily exercise and proper nutrition. Struggling with getting a good night’s rest? Consider these 4 benefits of sleep and then work on sleeping more soundly.
1. Sleep better to lose weight
Not sleeping enough has been directly linked to excess weight gain. In fact, sleeping for short amounts of time is one of the most significant modifiable risk factors for obesity. In one extensive study, adults who didn’t get enough sleep were 89% more likely to develop obesity, and children were 55% more likely. The reasons for this connection are numerous. Lack of sleep has been linked to higher appetites, a decreased motivation to exercise, and irregular hormone regulation.
2. Maximize job performance
Getting a good night’s sleep has been directly shown to increase concentration, productivity, and cognition. For example, one study of medical interns showed that 36% made severe medical errors compared to those who got enough rest. Need more evidence? Some research has shown that the effects of sleep deprivation on the brain are similar to alcohol intoxication. People who have physically demanding jobs are also not off the hook. Lack of sleep is linked to lower grip strength, slower walking, slower reaction times, and decreased speed and accuracy in physical tasks.
3. Lower risk of chronic diseases
Consistently getting enough shut-eye has a significant impact on a person’s risk of chronic disease. People who get less than 7 hours of sleep per night have a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
4. Boost your mood
People with sleeping disorders, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, report much higher rates of depression than those who sleep well. Some estimates say that as many as 90% of people with depression experience poor sleep. Not getting enough rest has also been shown to impact emotional intelligence and social interactions.
How can I sleep more soundly?
Excellent sleep hygiene is just as important as eating fruits and vegetables. For maximum benefits, create a daily routine with a consistent bedtime and wake-up time that is followed even on weekends. Sleep in a dark, cool environment and limit all distractions leading up to nighttime. Avoid electronics within an hour of going to bed, as devices can emit blue light that suppresses melatonin. For more recommendations about improving sleep quality, speak with a family medicine healthcare provider.