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If you dread the sleep deprivation that comes with Daylight Saving Time, you have good reason. Mounting evidence shows sleep is central to one’s physical and mental health–it’s not a luxury.
On average an adult requires around 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day. Even though a lot of people feel just fine when getting less than 7 hours of rest, there are those who may also need as much as 9 hours of sleep too.
And while sleep takes up time that we could spend doing something more productive, it’s worth it. A peaceful night’s sleep works to restore the body. If a person doesn’t get deep sleep, they may quickly lose memory recall and other cognitive functions. This is one of the reasons why most people deem driving while sleepy just as risky as driving under the influence.
Here are some of the reasons why you should never compromise on your sleep:
One of the essential functions of sleep is that it plays a huge role in regulating your mood, helping you to feel positive and to be calmer in stressful situations. Studies have found that not getting enough sleep targets the serotonin levels in the brain, and you are more likely to lash out during the day.
Think about it, when you don’t sleep well, you’re more likely to feel exhausted, impatient, agitated and stressed out. Stress can also spark insomnia, which in turn can cause depression in some people. So it’s a vicious cycle.
When you genuinely get enough sleep, you probably have a set time on which you doze off and the time during which your body is tuned to wake up every day. When your biological clock starts efficiently working you know that your energy levels are always up in the morning and you don’t need that coffee boost. Another great thing about this is that it actually helps you be productive. You can time your workout regime in the morning when you are at your most active.
Sleep may just be the one thing that plays a huge role in regulating appetite and metabolism. The hormones Leptin and Ghrelin are affected directly by the quality of your sleep. When you have rested well, you produce more leptin and less ghrelin. Ghrelin is responsible for telling you to eat more, while Leptin controls your diet.
When you are not getting enough sleep, everyone knows that because it starts ‘showing on your face.’ Not getting enough sleep dilates the blood vessels which cause dark circles. Sleep acts as a natural spa session: When you are asleep, your skin cells are renewing and replacing the old ones. If you want to avoid baggy red eyes and wrinkles that appear before your time, you know what you need to do.
There is also a correlation between sleep and inflammation. Higher inflammation in your body throws you off, and you are unable to regulate the immune system. It can also release skin diseases related to the immune system like eczema and psoriasis.
Once you have had a good night’s sleep, you will find yourself more focused and are able to learn efficiently during the day. Sleep also helps with consolidating your memory. This means that when you have had adequate rest your brain is able to coordinate information better and also allows you to quickly access information that you may have previously learned.
Research has discovered when people have interrupted sleep cycles they are more sensitive to pain. When the same people are able to catch up on their sleep hours without any interruption, the results showcase some powerful pain-relieving effects, which were stated to be higher than what you feel when you have painkillers. Therefore it is always advised that some extra sleep time just may make you stronger. A neat trick is to take magnesium before bed to get a restful sleep at night.
Poor sleeper is one with reduced sleep duration and quality. This already has a lot of adverse effects on the brain and other parts of the body. There are many factors with sleep that are known to also associate with heart diseases and other chronic diseases.
A study from the National Institutes of Health found out that short sleepers are at a much higher risk of stroke and heart conditions than the individuals who complete their 7 hours of sleep every night. Another study from NIH showed that a group of men who had their hours of sleep restricted to four only for 6 days in a row, started displaying symptoms of diabetes.
If you need more tips on how to get a good night’s rest, “The Science Behind a Perfect Night’s Sleep,” has some great ideas. In addition to changing your sleeping pattern, you need to pay attention to what you eat. Remember, you can only maintain a healthy body when you eat the right kinds of foods, exercise well and sleep at least 7 hours each night. So, rest up and don’t feel guilty about it!
-By Zyana Morris