The amount of sleep you get can have an immense impact on your health, work, family and other important facets of your life. So if you think it’s OK to run on a few hours’ sleep each night, think again. This guide will explain why sleep is so important while also giving you tips for a good night’s rest.
Lack of Sleep and Physical Health Sleep gives your body time to repair itself. Ongoing lack of sleep has been linked to a number of physical ailments, including high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and heart disease. In order to stay healthy, it’s critical that you get enough sleep.
Lack of Sleep and Brain Function When you sleep, your brain is hard at work going over the previous day and preparing for the following day. When you don’t give your brain enough time to perform these functions, the effects can be noticeable. Studies have found that a good night’s sleep enhances learning and problem-solving skills. It also gives your brain time to form new pathways for remembering and accessing new information and can lead to better emotional wellbeing (more control over emotions and behavior, less likely to become depressed, etc.).
Lack of Sleep and Decision Making There have been multiple studies that have shown the effects of sleepiness on decision making, and it’s clear that in order to make smart decisions, you need to be rested and ready for the day. In fact, the Department of Transportation reports that one to four percent of all highway crashes are due to sleepiness (especially in rural areas) and that about four perfect of these crashes are fatal. In addition to making life easier, it can actually be a matter of life and death.
Tips for Better Sleep So now that you know the negative outcomes of a lack of sleep, how can you make sure you’re getting enough rest each night? Here are the top tips that have been formulated by sleep researchers:
- Keep the same sleep/wake schedule every day
- Avoid caffeine, smoking and alcohol before going to bed
- Get regular exercise
- Create an environment conducive to sound sleep (minimize noise, light, and excessively hot or cold temperatures)
With better sleep each night, you’ll feel better during the day while also doing the right thing for your physical, mental and emotional well being.