There can be multiple reasons why you can’t sleep well. These include:
- Bad sleeping habits, like staying up too late and having an irregular sleep schedule
- Sleep disorders, like sleep apnea
- Excessive caffeine/alcohol intake
- Excessive screen time
All of these can deprive you of the incredible benefits of sleep as we’ll discuss in this article. So it’s important to actively address sleeping issues and find ways to get enough sleep each night.
For example, if you have sleep apnea, using a sleep apnea machine might be a good idea. Similarly, if you have bad sleeping habits, creating a regular sleep schedule will help.
With that being said, here are 6 reasons why getting enough sleep is vital for you.
- It makes you more productive
Recall the last time you went to work without getting a good night’s sleep. Chances are that you didn’t enjoy that day. Instead, you felt lethargic, unattentive, and performed poorly.
This happens because it takes a lot of your brain energy to try and stay awake when feeling drowsy, making it difficult to stay focused and concentrated on a given task.
When you’re sleep-deprived, you are also more likely to make mistakes. This is because of diminished attention and increased reaction time.
On the other hand, getting plenty of sleep helps you stay focused and sharp throughout the day by:
- Giving your body and mind a much-needed restorative break and boosting your energy levels.
- Allowing your brain to create new neural pathways, which enhances your cognitive abilities.
- It keeps your heart healthy
When you sleep, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. This gives your heart time to rest and recover.
On the other hand, when you don’t get enough sleep, the fight or flight response of your body — also called the sympathetic nervous response — gets activated.
Because of this, your body keeps producing a hormone that keeps you alert, and in turn, your heart rate and blood pressure stay elevated during the night.
Poor sleep routine can also cause inflammation, causing fat to deposit and build up in your arteries. Moreover, it diminishes your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar.
All of this damages the blood vessels in your body. When the blood vessels feeding your heart get damaged, you’re at an increased risk for heart attack. When this damage occurs in the brain, you have a high chance of getting a stroke.
- It fortifies your immune system
Sleep is not only important for your cardiovascular health, but it’s also vital for your ability to fight infections.
Proper sleep enhances the ability of T cells (a type of white blood cells) to detect and destroy infected cells. It also helps your immune system remember the foreign invaders for the next time, making you more resistant to future attacks by the same pathogens.
- It helps you stay in good shape
Sufficient sleep creates a balance of appetite and satiation by regulating the production of two hormones — ghrelin and leptin — in your body.
A lack of sleep can disrupt this balance by increasing ghrelin (a hormone that makes you feel hungry) levels and lowering leptin levels (a hormone that makes you feel full). This is the deadly combination that is behind those irresistible late-night-cravings.
You can also think of this in a simpler way. If you stay awake for longer, you’ll need more food to get extra energy. And these extra calories will make you gain weight, putting you at a higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
- It can keep your stress levels in check
A restful nap is a great way to feel more calm and relaxed on stressful days. This is because sleeping has an anti-stress effect on your body. It relaxes the system that is responsible for stress response in the first place.
Plus, you might’ve also heard the saying “Getting up on the right side of the bed”. While it doesn’t matter which side you wake up on, sleeping has a positive effect on your mood. It boosts your energy levels and enhances your mood, both of which help keep your stress levels in check.
- It helps you maintain good relationships
It’s no secret that little sleep can leave you feeling grumpy, which is likely to be felt by others around you.
The amount of sleep you get can affect the way you interact with others. Researchers at UC Berkeley found out that sleep-deprived people feel lonelier and less inclined to attend social gatherings.
This may be because a bad night’s sleep makes it more difficult to control your emotions and communicate with others, leading to possible conflicts.
On the other hand, sleeping well helps you regulate your emotions and puts you in a positive headspace. And this improves the way you interact with others, making your relationships healthier.
Finally, if you’ve been missing out on all of these benefits of sleep, check out these 5 tips for quality sleep to improve your life.