Health

The Power of Sleep – Why Lack of Sleep is Detrimental to Your Health

Chances are, there often aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you need to do. Between work, family, managing your finances, and hobbies and activities, time can sometimes seem to be against you. It may be tempting to skimp on sleep in order to fit everything into your day. But lack of sleep on a regular basis is more detrimental than you might think.

The benefits of getting enough shut-eye range from physical to mental and even into some areas you might not expect would be connected. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that insufficient sleep is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Mental benefits

One of the most important reasons to get enough sleep is that you’ll be sharper mentally as a result.

This stands to reason: We all know what it’s like when we’re overtired. It’s harder to concentrate, abstract or complicated thinking can be more difficult, and we’re often more irritable and less able to deal with anxiety and stress.

But scientific research has shown that a lack of sleep can have a more subtle and widespread effect on mental performance. Studies have shown that people working on a sleep-deprived schedule make more serious errors in their job.

Meanwhile, other studies have shown a definite link between concentration and sleep levels. Memory, problem-solving, and other mental skills are all strongly affected by lack of sleep.

So, if you want to be at your best from a mental standpoint, it’s an absolute must to get enough sleep.

Physical benefits

Not getting enough sleep can drag you down on a physical level as well.

Again, we know this is true on some level just from our own experience. When you don’t sleep, you’re ‘slower’ in many ways. Your reflexes aren’t as sharp, you’re slower to react, and your coordination isn’t at peak levels.

Once again, scientific research bears out the physical impact of lack of sleeping. In particular, professional sporting teams have looked at the effects of proper sleep and athletic performance and concluded that performing physically at your best requires the right amount of sleep.

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Sleep and obesity

The idea that sleep deprivation can lead to physical and mental issues is one we can all easily imagine from our own experiences. But did you know that there’s a definite link between getting enough sleep and maintaining a healthy weight?

It may seem a bit strange, but several studies have proven a concrete link between getting less than the ideal amount of sleep and obesity. The factors in why this is the case range from hormonal changes due to lack of sleep to lesser motivation to exercise to poor appetite regulation leading to overeating. It all adds up to a marked increase in the risk of obesity for people who don’t get enough sleep.

Health benefits

Yet another benefit to getting a proper amount of sleep is lowering your risk of certain health issues.

The risk of both heart disease and stroke increase among those who don’t get enough sleep. Similarly, the risk of type 2 diabetes is higher for people not getting proper sleep.

And your immune system functions at its peak potential only if you’ve gotten enough sleep. Studies have shown that people deprived of sleep have decreased immune system function.

Finally, there’s a clinical link between lack of sleep (or interrupted sleep patterns) and depression. Depression can lead to – or be associated with – numerous other health issues, making this link an especially dangerous one.

Take care of yourself and get enough sleep

For all of the above reasons, getting a full night’s sleep as regularly as you’re able is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

You’ll perform better both physically and mentally and you’ll be healthier in many ways. While it might seem to make sense to pack more into your days at the expense of sleep, the cost of doing so is higher than you think. Prioritize a regular schedule of proper sleep and your life will be better for it. If you need help falling asleep, watch this video:

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