Studies reveal that more and more people are sleeping less than six hours a night, and sleep difficulties affect 75% of us a few nights every week. A short-lived bout of insomnia is usually nothing to worry about. The bigger concern is chronic sleep loss, which can contribute to health problems such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and a decrease in the body’s immune system, reports Harvard Women’s Health Watch.
It is universally accepted in the scientific community that the need for sufficient sleep is too important to ignore. Here are six reasons to get enough rest:
- Learning and Memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
- Metabolism and Weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
- Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause dangerous falls, lapses in memory such as remembering to turn off the stove, and mistakes such as prescription mix-ups and driving accidents.
- Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can leave you too unmotivated for your favorite hobbies and activities, causing your mood to decline.
- Cardiovascular Health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat. Sufficient sleep helps regenerate the body’s functions, allowing your brain to better regulate organs such as your heart.
- Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the ability of your body’s white blood cells to attack germs. Sleep may also help fight cancer according to studies that suggest getting between seven and nine hours of sleep can boost healthy cell growth.