Not getting enough sleep at night can feel as exhausting as being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic at the end of a long day. If you find yourself fighting the head nod as you doze off in important meetings or draining cups of coffee to make it through the workday, it’s time to catch up on the Z’s.
Five reasons why your body needs more sleep.
1) More sleep is an indicator of overall health. In a study by the National Sleep Foundation, Americans who reported having good or excellent health and quality of life received on average just 18 to 23 minutes more sleep during the week than those who rated their health as good, fair, or poor.
Every little extra bit of shut-eye helps!
2) Sleeping more can keep you safer. It’s a shocking fact, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 72,000 car crashes due to drowsy driving in 2013. That resulted in 800 fatalities and 44,000 injuries.
That’s 800 deaths in just one year, and the scary part is the fact that drowsy driving is often underreported. So sleep tight and buckle up—your safety (and the safety of others) could very well depend on it.
3) Sleep helps improve memory. When we sleep, bits and pieces of information are transferred from our short-term memory to long-term memory. This is a unique process called “consolidation.” Think of it as the brain’s way of sweeping out the brain junk we accumulate throughout the day and storing the important stuff.
Research has shown that after we wake from sleeping, we are actually able to retain information and perform better on memory tests.
4) Sleep can inspire creativity. Not only does sleep consolidate memories, but getting sleep helps your brain to reorganize and restructure memories as well. In turn, this may help to inspire creativity. So if you’re trying to learn a new skill like the guitar or are working on an art piece, chances are you’ll feel more creative and perform better after a good night’s sleep.
5) Sleep may help improve your mood. I don’t know about you, but when I’m super tired, all it takes is someone obnoxiously trilling their fingernails repeatedly on their desk to put me in a hater mood. Ask anyone who has burst into emotional tears or snapped at a friend—chances are they were tired, which then led to crankiness and negative emotions.
Although it won’t guarantee that you have a pleasant day, getting enough sleep at night can actually help you to be in a better mood overall.
So how much sleep should you get?
Although everyone is different and there is no magic number, the National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get between seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Not sure how much you should personally get?
- Are you productive, healthy and happy on the current amount of sleep you receive? Or do you feel like you’re dragging throughout the day?
- Do you have health issues such as being overweight, or are you at risk for any disease?
- Is coffee or caffeine a necessary staple to make it through the day?
- Are you struggling with sleep problems?
- Do you feel sleepy when driving?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it’s a good sign you need to up the sleep every night.
So set the alarm for a good nine hours, grab your leopard print sleep mask, and hit the sheets.
Your body will be glad you did.
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