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Sleep

Sleep might be the ONLY change you need to make for  all of your other new year’s resolutions come to fruition this year. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

If you can only pick one thing to change about your life in the New Year, you should choose to get one more hour of sleep each night.  It might sound like a simple thing.  It might seem like a much lower priority than other things like losing weight, reducing stress, improving your health, or saving money.  But if you consider how much you can get from that one extra hour of sleep, it is easy to see it isn’t just the most important change you should make this year, it might be the only change you need to make.

 

1.     Decreased Risk of Heart Attack

Research suggests that not getting enough sleep may be as likely to trigger a heart attack as smoking!  Since many of us are missing the mark in terms of sleep we get verses sleep we need by about an hour, getting a little more sleep each day this year could actually save your life.

 

2.     Decreased Risk of Diabetes

Although most health consequences of sleep deprivation take time to develop, the link between lack of sleep and diabetes can be seen in less than a week.  Even healthy individuals show signs of pre-diabetes after only a few days of sleep disruption.

 

3.     Decreased Risk of Obesity

The link between sleep and obesity is still being investigated but studies have shown that those who don’t get the recommended sleep at night have a higher rate of obesity.

 

4.     Increased Weight Control

The link between lack of sleep and weight gain has been established in several recent studies.  Experts believe that lack of sleep causes hormonal changes in our bodies that can lead to weight gain.  Getting enough sleep on a regular basis can help keep your hormones stable and make losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight easier.

 

5.     More Likely to Exercise

While most people believe that getting in a good workout will make it easier to sleep, research has shown that the opposite is also true.  Getting a good night sleep tonight increases the likelihood that you will have the energy needed to exercise tomorrow.  If getting in shape is on your list of things to do, start by getting more sleep.

 

6.   Better Interpersonal Relationships

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 26% of us are too tired to have sex which isn’t helping our marriages.  Sleep also causes grouchiness and short tempers with everyone in our lives which can complicate even the best relationship.

 

7.     A Stronger Immune System

Our understanding of the link between sleep and our immune system is still evolving but results so far indicate that getting the sleep our body needs is crucial to maintaining a healthy immune system.

 

8.     A Better Brain

Sleep deprivation impacts our cognitive functions almost across the board.  We have difficulty concentrating, paying attention, remembering things, and remaining alert.   Getting enough sleep each night, which for most of us means getting one more hour of sleep, can improve every aspect of your life by providing your brain what it needs to function optimally.