4 Reasons You Need Sleep Even More Than Food
Hunger and thirst are your body’s natural reactions to being deprived of food or water. Your body sends these important signals to your brain so that you make sure to fuel and hydrate yourself adequately throughout the day. Without enough food or water, you will not be able to maintain your health or survive for very long.
However, you may not know that sleep deprivation will actually begin to affect your body and mind much more quickly than hunger or thirst. After just a few nights of poor or missed sleep, you begin to lose your ability to function and think optimally. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, this is why sleep deprivation is often used as an effective method of torture. Yet, for many reasons, sleep is something that many people tend to relinquish more easily than food or water.
Here are four reasons that you should not sacrifice sleep, and make sure you get the rejuvenating rest your body and brain need:
- Sleep is key to maintaining your good overall health.
Sleep is a very important part of living a healthy life. If you do not get enough rest each night, your physical health can suffer or decline quite quickly. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, frequent sleep deprivation is linked to many very serious health issues including:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Sleep helps improves your mood.
If you’ve ever lost valuable sleep at night, then you have probably noticed that your mood can be negatively altered the following day. If you don’t get enough sleep to properly refresh and restore your mind and body, you become more prone to poor moods, irritability, and emotional instability. According to a study cited by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, people who slept only four to five hours experienced more anger, sadness, irritability after just one night of partial sleep deprivation. After sleeping seven to nine hours the following night, people reported they felt much more happiness and were less sensitive to stress.
- Sleep increases your mental function and memory.
Sleeping improves your ability to think clearly, make sound decisions, and learn things more quickly. According to the National Sleep Foundation, consistently sleeping seven to nine hours per night also increases mental agility and memory. Even though your brain is at its most active while you are sleeping, it uses that time to sort and synthesize information absorbed during the day. This process is important to retaining old memories, as well as forming new memories and learning new things.
- Sleep helps you lead a more productive life.
As the demands of your life increase, it may seem like trading sleep hours for hours spent trying to get things done will help you be more productive. However, the opposite is true. When you are even mildly sleep deprived or overly tired, your mind will function more slowly and you’ll get less accomplished by trying to trade in sleep. According to sleep and productivity interviews done by the Huffington Post, successful people indicated that getting more sleep actually helps with leading a more productive life at work or school during waking hours.