Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. — Thomas Dekker
Are you struggling to control your weight?
Do you catch every cold going around?
Are you struggling to concentrate at work?
Is your sex drive slowly shrinking?
And are those bags under your eyes slowly enlarging?
Face it, you’re tired.
No, not tired, exhausted.
You’re one step away from overwhelm or burnout.
And if you’re honest, you know it’s impacting on your partner, your kids, your work and your health.
I used to be the same, but I finally understood why a good night’s sleep should be top of my, and your, to-do list.
12 Reasons To Get More Sleep
1. Sleep can keep you slim.
Based on a sleep deprivation study, Dr. Hensrud of the Mayo Clinic highlighted how repeatedly getting insufficient sleep can lead you to reach for high-calorie foods over healthier choices:
Women who slept less than six hours a night or more than nine hours were more likely to gain 11 pounds (5 kilograms) compared with women who slept seven hours a night.
So don’t think thin, think sleep!
2. Sleep can keep you healthy.
The Mayo Clinic report that lack of sleep can affect your immune system and therefore:
People who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold.
They also found that recovery times were similarly linked to sleep, or lack of it.
So don’t sneeze at sleep — it may e as close as we’ve got to a cure for the common cold.
3. Sleep can keep you beautiful.
“Getting your beauty sleep” is so much more than just a phrase. Persistent sleep loss can lead to dark circles under your eyes, facial lines and tired-looking skin. Phil Gehrman, PhD states that:
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.
So if you want to look your best, sleep your best.
4. Sleep can make you a better parent.
You want the best for your kids, but competition for good jobs is tough out there. So you push them to get better grades, to make it into that top college.
However Mahmood Siddique, D.O., a sleep medicine specialist at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. warns:
Sleep deprivation and depression go hand in hand among teenagers.
Alarmingly, sleep deprived teenagers were three times more likely to suffer from depression than their well rested peers.
So if you want your kids to do better, help them sleep better.
5. Sleep can make you sexier.
If your sex life has as much sparkle as a wet Monday, then lack of sleep may be the culprit. A study found that:
Men with poor sleep patterns have significantly lower levels of testosterone, which results in a lack of sex drive.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the report also concludes that these lower levels of testosterone lead to “reduced libido and poor reproduction.”
So get sleepy under the bed covers before you get sweaty.
6. Sleep can make you smarter.
We all want to be smart, right? But if your brain is in a fog of fatigue, then according to Bronwyn Fryer in the Harvard Business Review, you are in reality, as dumb as a drunkard:
If you get at least eight hours of sleep a night, your level of alertness should remain stable throughout the day, but if you … get less than that … it is more difficult for the brain to function … [you] develop the same level of cognitive impairment as if [you]’d been awake for 24 hours — equivalent to legal drunkenness.
Which means that all work and no sleep makes Jack a very dull boy indeed.
So wise up and sleep smart.
7. Sleep can help you climb the corporate ladder.
We often imagine that putting in more hours at the office is helping our careers. In fact, it may be harming them.
People often feel tired as the day goes on but they still put in long hours because according to Nitun Verma, medical director for the Washington Township Center for Sleep Disorders in Fremont, California, they fear that:
Some younger, more energetic person is going to take their job or their promotion.
However, the ironic thing is, young professionals are suffering from sleep deprivation as well:
They often only sleep four to five hours a night. Adrenaline is carrying them during exciting times, but the sleepiness finds them during brainstorming and creative times.
So put in more hours in bed rather than in the office.
8. Sleep can make you richer.
It seems counter intuitive to suggest that sleeping can help you become financially better off.
But Todd Kashdan, George Mason University psychology professor disagrees:
You need good self-control to make good financial decisions and plans … willpower resources that are undermined by not getting enough sleep … none of which is good for your decision-making, including financial decision-making.
So sleep your way to wealth.
9. Sleep can lower your “stress button.”
A lack of sleep coupled with a surfeit of stress is a bad combination for health and happiness. However, the two go hand in hand, a lack of sleep often triggering or magnifying the stress. In a study sleep-deprived participants were observed having:
Greater subjective stress, anxiety, and anger than rested controls following exposure to the low-stressor condition.
Which in plain talk means the more tired you are, the more stressed you are likely to become. And in a further study it was shown Severe sleep loss:
Jolts the immune system into action, reflecting the same type of immediate response shown during exposure to stress
Which means too little sleep and too much stress basically have the same detrimental effect.
So immunize yourself from stress with sleep.
10. Sleep can keep you safe.
You wouldn’t drink and drive would you? Of course not, but if you drive without sufficient sleep you are basically doing just that. According to the NHTSA “drowsy driving.”
Is a profound impairment that mimics alcohol-impaired driving in many ways. Drowsiness leads to slower reaction times, and impaired attention, mental processing, judgment, and decision making.
And the NHTSA estimates up to 20 percent of annual traffic deaths may be attributable to driver drowsiness. This sobering statistic means that a possible 5,000 people die every year in the United States alone unnecessarily.
So don’t become another fatal statistic. To borrow the slogan from one road safety campaign:
“Sleep, Drive & Arrive Alive!”
11. Sleep can ward off diabetes.
British National Health Service advice on tiredness and fatigue warns that constantly sleeping less than five hours per night can increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
The lack of deeper sleep can:
Change the way the body processes glucose — the high-energy carbohydrate that cells use for fuel.
Which leavies it lingering in the bloodstream instead of being converted to a source of energy.
So sleep your way to better health.
12. Sleep can literally save your life.
As well as saving your life on the highways, sleep can save your life nearer home. Long-standing sleep deprivation is associated with:
Increased heart rate, an increase in blood pressure and higher levels of certain chemicals linked with inflammation, which may put extra strain on your heart … and it shortens your life expectancy.
And a further study noted that those who slept less than 6 hours a night:
Were more likely to suffer a stroke than their well-rested counterparts.
So don’t be the one literally dying to get some sleep.
Make sure that you do whatever it takes to get sufficient, life-sustaining sleep.
And you’ll be happier, healthier and wealthier for it.
One of the most important ways to get more sleep is to stop over committing yourself and learn to say NO. Download Laura’s free cheat sheet: 5 Guilt-Free Ways To Say NO Without Offending Anyone (Even If You Hate Conflict)