Posted by Nicole on July 9
Spend a lot of time tossing and turning at night? Or do you skip out on hours of sleep to get extra work done?
Many of us were raised with a puritanical work ethic, and were taught to think of sleep as a kind of luxury.
But sleep is deeply necessary. If you are not getting enough of it, you are compromising your health in more ways than you might expect—and possibly other people’s as well.
Let's go over some of the reasons why it is important to get high quality sleep every night, and plenty of it.
1. Your immune system may function better.
If you don't want to get sick, depriving yourself of sleep is not a good move.
Mayo Clinic writes, “Yes, lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that 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 virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.”
So, if you want to protect yourself from viruses, make sure that you are giving your immune system the sleep it needs.
2. You will have better cardiovascular health.
In the same article, Mayo Clinic also says, “So, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases. Long-term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.”
So, if you want to maintain your weight (or lose weight) and keep your cardiovascular system functioning at its best, you should get all the sleep you need each night.
3. You can reduce inflammation.
It doesn't take a lot of lost sleep to promote inflammation. As explained in this article, a 50% sleep reduction can result in an increase in inflammatory mediators.
In other words, if you usually require 8 hours of sleep each night, and you only get 4, that can increase your inflammation levels significantly.
If you are routinely losing a few hours of sleep each night, you can imagine how this problem may be compounding.
Indeed, the cycle could turn into a chronic one if you do not do anything to correct it. So, the sooner you can start getting the sleep you require each night to reduce inflammation, the better.
4. You can perform better on the job.
Your brain functions better when you get the sleep your body needs. Without it, cognitive performance can decline in multiple respects.
This article explains, “Over the past decade, an important link between sleep and cognitive processing has been established. Sleep plays an important role in consolidation of different types of memory and contributes to insightful, inferential thinking.”
So, you will do better with work, study, and pretty much everything else you approach by getting better sleep.
5. You are less likely to make embarrassing mistakes.
Getting more sleep could have social benefits too, however indirectly. Consider how embarrassing it is to make a mistake at work, for example, because you are sleep-deprived.
If you get adequate sleep each night, you are less likely to make these types of mistakes and suffer the subsequent embarrassment or problems with your boss or co-workers.
In that sense, protecting job security could be seen as an additional advantage of getting the sleep you require.
6. You also are less likely to make dangerous errors.
While mistakes can be embarrassing in many situations, they can also be dangerous.
As explained here, “Chernobyl is officially acknowledged to have begun at 1:23 a.m. as the result of human error,” and also, “The recent report of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident did cite the contribution of human error and poor judgement related to sleep loss and shiftwork during the early morning hours.”
It is disturbing to think that major accidents like these could potentially have been prevented if workers had simply gotten adequate sleep or were not working in usual hours.
By getting enough sleep yourself, you make it less likely that you will play a part in such a disaster.
And even if you do not work at a nuclear facility or in a space program, you do operate the vehicle you drive to and from work each day, which can be just as deadly. So, it is your responsibility no matter your profession to make sure you are getting enough sleep.
7. You may feel less anxious or depressed.
Anxiety and depression may keep us awake late at night. But the consequence is that the next day, both can increase. The following night, it can be even harder to sleep, and so forth.
Breaking the cycle can be challenging, but worthwhile for your mental health and not just your physical well-being.
8. Sleep is necessary and can be enjoyable too.
The reality is that there is a lot about sleep which scientists still do not understand. So, the importance of getting sleep probably stems far beyond even the points we just went over.
Regardless, it is clear that it is a necessity for human beings and other animals, not an option.
Plus, we can enjoy sleep when we allow ourselves to do so, correctly labeling it as necessary and not thinking of it as a sign of laziness as we may have been taught to do.
A Natural Supplement Can Help You Sleep
If you are having a difficult time getting the rest you need to feel your best physically and psychologically, consider taking a natural supplement which promotes restful sleep.
Ingredients such as melatonin, Phosphatidylserine, Ashwagandha, L-Theanine and 5-HTP can all help you to get the restorative sleep you need.
It can take time and effort to get on a regular sleep schedule and get a full night of sleep each night, but you will find that the payoff is well worth it.