We seem to be a nation of insomniacs or at least a nation of people unwilling to get the sleep we need each night. There always seem to be more important things to do, things that simply must take precedence over slipping between the sheets on time for a solid 7 or 8 hours of sleep. What we don’t seem to realize however, is what else we may be sacrificing when we decide to sacrifice sleep. Here are 4 reasons you should put sleep at the top of your to do list today, and every day.
1. Your Health
Research in recent years has shown the direct link between the amount of sleep we get and our overall health. Sleep is as important to us as air, water, and food. Like these, both the quality and quantity of your sleep contribute to how healthy you are. The next time you start thinking that skipping sleep so that you can do something is more important than spending that time sleeping, ask yourself if it is important enough that you would skip breathing to do it. It may sound extreme, but it will help reinforce the important role sleep plays in maintaining your health.
2. Your Mood
Everyone knows that when a child gets tired, they get cranky. They are more likely to argue with their parents or siblings, more apt to burst into tears, and less likely to be cooperative. Despite what we like to think, we don’t actually grow out of this. Adults who aren’t getting enough sleep are cranky, more likely to fight with their spouse and snap at their children, and struggle to regulate their emotions. Get the sleep you need and avoid acting like a sleep-deprived child.
3. Losing Weight
The key to losing weight may be located in your bedroom and it isn’t the treadmill most commonly used as a clothing rack. Getting the sleep you need plays a big role in weight management for two reasons. First, there are hormonal changes associated with sleep deprivation that increase your hunger and make you crave food that is less than healthy. Second, when you are exhausted, you are less likely to get some exercise. When taken together, it is clear the not getting the sleep you need is a double whammy when it comes to weight. Win the battle of the bulge by getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
4. Thinking Clearly
When we don’t get enough sleep it impacts how well our brain functions. Sleep deprivation results in decreased cognitive function, lowered attention, and difficulties with memory. We are more likely to forget where we parked our car and may struggle completing assignments at work. Think of sleep as a way to recharge your brain and make sure you focus as much attention on keeping your brain charged as you do on keeping your cell phone charged.