Flannel pajamas. Down pillows. Fresh sheets.
There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep and many of us treat sleep like the ultimate luxury. Whether you’re a busy mom with a long to-do list or a college student cramming for that upcoming final, you’ve got more important things to do than sleep, right? You’ll sleep when you’re dead.
Unfortunately, this attitude couldn’t be more unhealthy. Just like food, water and shelter, sleep is an absolute necessity. Stop torturing your body by making it stay up all night.
Here are some reasons why sleep should be a necessity, not a luxury.
Sleep Improves Concentration
Think pulling an all-nighter will help you ace that exam in the morning? Think again. Sleep is clinically proven to increase concentration. Though you may be tempted to skimp on sleep in order to increase your productivity, your next-day productivity will be greatly reduced due to poor concentration.
Sleep Acts as a Stress Reducer
If you’re stressed out about upcoming deadlines or obligations, the worst thing you could do is skip sleep to work or lie awake thinking about your stressful situation. Your dilemma will look less stressful in the morning and you’ll have more energy, concentration and focus to start problem-solving.
More Sleep Equals Better Decisions
According to a recent study the more sleep you get, the better your decision-making skills are. When you’re sleep-deprived, it can be difficult to make even the simplest of decisions.
Sleep Reduces Your Chances of Obesity
The less you sleep, the more weight you’ll show on the scale: people with sleep disorders have a much higher obesity rate than the rest of the population. Furthermore, sleep deprivation actively alters hunger hormones. When you’re running on not enough sleep, your body lowers production of leptin (a hormone that suppresses your appetite) and increases production of ghrelin (a hormone that stimulates your appetite).
Sleep Boosts Your Immune System
Sick all the time? It may be because your body isn’t getting enough sleep. Your body isn’t a 24-hour machine; it needs rest to fight off illnesses and infections.
Sleep Lowers Your Risk of an Auto Accident
Believe it or not, sleep-deprived driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. “Drowsy driving”, as it’s called, is responsible for 100,000 crashes each year. In fact, your driving ability is just as cognitively impaired after 24 hours without sleep as it is with a blood alcohol level of .10.
Sleep May Lengthen Your Life
According to several large studies published in Archives of General Psychiatry and Sleep, people who get five hours or less of sleep per night have a 15% higher chance of dying (by any cause) than people who get six or more hours.
[box type=”note”]There’s no doubt sleep improves life – for both the short-term and the long-term. A full night’s sleep shouldn’t be a “treat” or luxury item like European chocolates or a bottle of wine. How much sleep do you get?[/box]