The world that we live in is a busy one, with more stressors, more responsibilities and more worries than ever before. One, often unintentional, human response to this busy world is to try and pack more and more activity into our day, which in turn leads to us getting less sleep.
Considering the importance of a good night sleep on us as individuals, this is a worrying trend, and one that is backed up by facts. Some 90% of all Australians will suffer from one of more than 70 sleep disorders during their lifetime. In fact, sleep problems are at the centre of 9% of work related injuries, 8% of depression cases and 7% of motor vehicle accidents.
But, those are just statistics, often not enough to motivate change. So, instead of educating you on what happens when you don’t get enough sleep, we thought we’d explore what happens when you do. Here are the six unexpected benefits of getting enough sleep.
1. Less Stress
If you’re feeling so stressed it’s overwhelming, tucking yourself into an early night might be the best move to make. Although it seems counter-intuitive to many, getting enough sleep can help to manage your stress levels, and keep you sane. When you’re sleep deprived, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol, making it harder not to sweat the small stuff.
2. Longer Life
The jury is still out on this as a proven fact, but it has long been suggested that too little sleep (or too much) can lead to a shorter lifespan. Certainly, a complete lack of sleep will kill you, but consistently getting less than five hours of sleep a night can affect your quality of life in the short-term, as well as your potential time on this lovely planet.
3. Better Memory
If you think time asleep is time wasted doing nothing, prepare to learn something. When you’re asleep, your brain is busy, working on a process known as consolidation. During this process, the brain takes skills you learned when you were awake, and strengthens your memories of them, essentially practicing them as your snooze. This means that you’re better at them when you wake, and more rested too.
4. Weight Control
Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sections of the brain, so its no surprise that not getting enough sleep can hinder your weight loss goals. In fact, when you’re sleepy, the same hormones rise in the blood that appear when you’re hungry. So, although staying up late might be great for getting things done, you’re likely to confuse your body into craving food, when you really need sleep.
5. More Creativity
Researchers have found that during sleep the brain consolidates information (as we’ve already talked about) as well as restructuring it. This reorganization of information is thought to help to motivate creativity, and streamline the creative process by strengthening the emotional aspects of your powerful memories.
6. Nicer Skin
A considerable number of skin disorders and general problems can be linked to inflammation in the body, a condition that happens to be found more often in people who sleep for fewer than 6 hours every night. These individuals tend to have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins, which can lead to those pesky skin problems, as well as other health issues.
Clearly, getting a good nights sleep has more of an impact than you think. With far-reaching consequences, there’s more to think about before skipping the sleep-in than the time you think you’re wasting.