Updated: Sep 15, 2021
In my 20s and even early thirties sleep was the enemy of fun times. I could get four hours shut eye, work an 8 hour shift, run a marathon, meet friends for dinner and drinks and start the whole process again. After having kids and just being on the wrong side of 40, now if I don’t get near 8 hours a night of quality sleep I look and behave like an angry panda bear.
Most adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day. Getting less than 6 to 7 hours of sleep for just one night can have an effect on you the next day. And chronically missing out on sleep increases the risk of disease. All the more reason to get some sleep, right? Here are 7 reasons why you should call it an early night -
Sleep Keeps Your Heart Healthy
During sleep, your body releases hormones that keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. Not getting enough sleep can lead to heart health problems like high blood pressure or heart attacks. That’s because lack of sleep can cause your body to release that damned cortisol, which makes your heart to work harder. Your heart needs rest in order to function powerfully and properly. Just another reason to “heart” sleep.
Sleep May Help Regulate Blood Sugar Sleep helps regulate your body's metabolism. And sleep deprivation can have a number of health effects related to your metabolism. One of these is a fluctuation of your glucose (sugar) levels. This can be a problem for people who have diabetes, and it can also increase the risk of developing diabetes.
Sleep Reduces Stress Sleep helps your mind and body relax and recover from your day. When you are deprived of sleep, your body releases stress hormones (cortisol). Stress can cause you to react in ways that aren't productive—sometimes making rash decisions or acting out of fear. Without a good night's sleep, you can end up feeling anxious until you finally get some much-needed rest.
Sleep Reduces Inflammation Sleep regulates your immune system. When you don't get enough sleep, inflammation can result. You won't usually notice excess inflammation, but it can have an effect on your body. Chronic inflammation damages the body and increases the risk of many health conditions, including ulcers, dementia, heart disease, and more.
Sleep Makes You More Alert A good night's sleep makes you feel energised and alert the next day. This will help you focus, get things done, and be able to socialise and enjoy recreation and hobbies. Energy and alertness also help you exercise, which is important for your overall health. Being engaged and active throughout your day feels great—and all that activity from your day also increases your chances for another good night's sleep.
Remember, Sleep Improves Your Memory Even though sleep gives your body the rest it needs, your mind is still hard at work. It’s actually processing and consolidating your memories from the day. If you don’t get enough sleep, who knows where those memories go. Or worse, your mind might actually create false memories. Deep sleep is a very important time for your brain to make memories and links, and getting more quality sleep will help you remember things better in the long run.
Gain ZZZs or gain weight
Getting that full eight full hours of sleep doesn’t mean you can cut the exercise and load on the carbs but it can help your body from packing on the pounds. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces ghrelin, a hormone that boosts appetite. Your body also decreases the production of leptin, a hormone that tells you you’re full. Put ’em both together and that’s one dangerous combo for late-night snacking! I’mexhausted just thinking about it.