Imagine there was a one-size-cures-all remedy for such ailments as depression, obesity, forgetfulness, poor immunity, and bad skin. Now imagine that remedy was completely free.
It’s not a dream. Such a miracle exists. It’s called sleep, and it is beautiful.
Six Scientific Reasons You Should Get More Sleep
Here are just a few of the reasons you need more sleep in your life.
1. Sleep strengthens your mental capacity.
“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.”
Sleep has been proven to enhance mental acuity. In June 2014, Dr. Stijn Baert of Ghent University published the results of a study he conducted, showing that “students who sleep seven hours per night during the exam period score an average of 1.7 points higher (on a scale of 20) on their exams than peers who get only six hours of sleep.”
According to Dr. Baert, “A good night’s sleep optimizes cognitive performance in a very direct way since new knowledge is integrated into our existing knowledge base while we sleep.”
2. Sleep increases life expectancy.
“Sleep deprivation is an illegal torture method outlawed by the Geneva Convention and international courts, but most of us do it to ourselves.”
A study reported by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine compared the white blood cells for young men under both sleep-deprived and sleep-satisfied conditions. It concluded that loss of sleep exposes individuals to conditions that could shorten one’s lifespan substantially.
Another 2010 study showed that there’s a definite trend toward increased mortality in women ages 50 to 79 who got less than five hours of sleep per night compared to their counterparts who got over six and a half hours of nightly sleep.
3. Sleep contributes to weight loss.
“Your life is a reflection of how you sleep, and how you sleep is a reflection of your life.”
-Dr. Rafael Pelayo
When you’re tired, it’s easy to mistake exhaustion for hunger. Not only that, but the body also has a harder time properly performing a host of body functions like digestion. “People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have bigger appetites due to the fact that their leptin levels (leptin is an appetite-regulating hormone) fall, promoting appetite increase,” reports the Sleep Foundation website.
4. Sleep keeps you positive.
“There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled.”
It’s also been proven that increased repetitive negative thinking (RNT), a precursor to depression, is linked to poor sleep habits. According to Jacob Nota and Meredith Coles of the Binghamton University Department of Psychology, “Shorter sleep duration was cross-sectionally associated with more rumination and delayed sleep timing was associated with more obsessive–compulsive symptoms…Individuals who endorsed a preference for later sleep and activity times also reported more RNT.” In other words, both lack of sleep and late hours can contribute to depressing thoughts.
To keep your spirits high, regular, restful sleep is a must. One way to achieve this is to turn off all devices that transmit light to trigger your melatonin to start feeling sleepy, usually an hour before bedtime. Aim to go to sleep as soon as you feel tired. Then try to get up the moment you wake up. Doing this on a regular basis can train your body to wake without the need for elaborate wake-up rituals.
5. Sleep strengthens your immune system.
“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”
If you’ve been struggling to stay healthy, chances are you should add some hours to your sleep regimen. According to the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, “Results show that the risk of an extended absence from work due to sickness rose sharply among those who reported sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours per night.”
Timothy Morgenthaler, American Academy of Sleep president, said, “Insufficient sleep – due to inadequate or mistimed sleep – contributes to the risk for several of today’s public health epidemics. Getting at least seven hours of nightly sleep is a key to overall health, which translates to less sick time away from work.”
6. Sleep makes you attractive.
“Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year-olds.”
Both by increasing our ability to interact well with others and enhancing our physical appearance, sleep has long enjoyed its status as favored beauty aid.
Collagen, a miraculous substance in our bodies that’s responsible for supple, elastic skin and healthy, shiny hair, is formed during biochemical events during the course of a night’s sleep.
Which just goes to show that the ancient poet offered the highest praise when he penned of the Almighty, “He giveth his beloved sleep.”