We’ve probably heard of the dangers of getting too little sleep, but it’s something that doesn’t easily stick. Many people still take sleep for granted, perhaps because the effects of sleep deprivation are not immediate. That doesn’t change the fact that not getting enough sleep is dangerous for your health and overall well-being.
On the other side of the coin, being better at sleeping and getting the right quantity and quality of sleep can actually help you do several things better. It helps you function better as a human being, and below are 8 of these things:
When you sleep, you’re not just giving your body its well-deserved break. You’re also giving your brain time to recharge. This is a common quandary for students who are cramming for exams or workers who want to pull an all-nighter to prepare for tomorrow’s presentation. In cases like this, not sleeping is actually counterproductive, because your brain becomes slower and slower the more it lacks sleep, and no longer functions as intended.
Think of your brain as a battery that needs to recharge. If your brain gets better sleep the night before, it can function better the following day and help you think better as well. Otherwise, you’ll just find yourself staring into space and processing things much slower.
2. Smile and laugh
Lack of sleep sucks out all your energy, and that includes the energy you need to smile, laugh, and generally be a pleasant human being the following day. This is why you’ll notice that if you lack sleep, you’re always in a sour mood, your temper is very short, and you feel cranky all the time.
Smiling and laughing become a chore if you don’t give your body enough time to sleep and recharge, and you don’t really want this to happen. This is especially true if you work in a job that’s always interacting with people and requires you to be extra pleasant and jovial.
3. Lose weight
If you sleep better, you can lose weight better. It may seem like there isn’t a connection between the two, but you’ll be surprised at what proper sleeping habits can do to help you in your weight loss journey. Aside from making sure that your body is in its proper, fighting form, adequate sleep helps you control your cravings and stops you from stress eating. It also stops you from having a midnight snack, which may seem harmless at first but really throws your diet off the mark.
Sleep is also good for your digestive system, and helps you burn more fat and calories even when your body is at rest and technically not doing anything. So instead of thinking you need an extra session in the gym, what you might need is actually a few more hours of sleep every night.
4. Fight off diseases
Sleep boosts your immune system and makes it extra efficient. The converse of this is of course a weaker immune system, so if you’re not getting enough sleep then you shouldn’t be surprised that you’re getting sick all the time.
When you’ve given your body enough sleep, your immune system works its magic and protects your body better the following day. Having a healthy immune system is important because there are so many diseases that your body can easily catch if your immune system is down.
5. Take care of your heart
Adequate sleep also gives you better cardiovascular health. If you keep depriving yourself of sleep, you increase your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. When you sleep, your heart rests because your heart rate and blood pressure also go down. If you don’t sleep, your heart works extra hard, and this is not really good for you.
6. Control stress
If you’re finding yourself always stressed out lately, don’t just review the circumstances around you. Ask yourself if you’re getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation and loss have been found to increase cortisol or your stress hormones. Aside from controlling stress, having your cortisol levels up even during nighttime is unhealthy, because it keeps you alert when you’re supposed to be sleeping. This also increases your risk in developing obesity and diabetes.
7. Enjoy the day
Not sleeping makes you feel lethargic and zombie-like the following day. This means that no matter what’s happening around you, you’ll find it hard to revel in the moment. You tend to miss out enjoying the day because you’re too sleepy to function.
If you sleep better, you live better. Life is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest, and you can’t get that if you’re perpetually sleepy. Most of the action happens during the day, but you need to be there to live it.