At the risk of sounding like your mom, have you been getting enough rest? Everyone knows that nothing feels better than getting your recommended 7 – 9 hours of sleep, so why is it that almost no one gets nearly enough?
We get it, sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything and the benefits of sleep get sacrificed. Especially if you’re in college, sleep tends to take the backburner to make time for partying (and occasional studying). Unfortunately, the need for sleep is even more intense when you’re in college.
Your body and mind are still developing, which means you actually should be sleeping around 9-10 hours to accommodate all the important changes your body is going through. It’s easy to get caught up in pulling all-nighters, but trust us — it will definitely catch up with you. In addition to the obvious exhaustion and sluggishness you’ll feel, not getting enough sleep can have countless other negative effects on your overall health. If you’ve been feeling off your game lately, you may just need to get some more shut-eye.
Not convinced? Here are 16 reasons why getting enough sleep is the absolute best thing for your health, better than all those detoxes and health fads combined!
1. Sleep helps you maintain a healthy weight
Can’t stop snacking? You may not be getting enough sleep. If you find that your appetite is unusually-ravenous, it might be your body’s way of trying to stay fueled and energized. Overexhaustion forces your body to get energy from other places. This is because not receiving the benefits of sleep triggers your brain to release chemicals that signal hunger, making it way harder to control your appetite. Plus, not getting enough sleep will make it way harder to exercise and engage in physical activity. Getting a full night of sleep makes it much easier to maintain an active lifestyle and healthy diet.
2. It lowers the likelihood of diabetes
People often associate type 2 diabetes with people who are significantly overweight or obese. While a healthy diet and exercise are obviously key in that aspect of diabetes prevention, which can be made easier by a good night’s sleep many are surprised to find out that actually, diabetes doesn’t discriminate by size. This means that even very thin people can become diabetic if they’re not treating their bodies right, and a huge part of that is getting enough sleep.
Being overtired makes it harder for your body to regulate your blood sugar levels, making it way more (up to 2.5 times) likely for a person to develop diabetes.
3. It will improve your memory
Whether you’re having trouble remembering the textbook chapter you studied yesterday or you keep accidentally bailing on plans you forgot you made, having issues with your short-term memory can be a real pain. Not getting enough sleep makes it way harder to retain information, regardless of how long you study.
You may feel like it’s impossible to recall the paragraph you read less than five minutes ago. Studies show that getting a good night’s rest before a day of studying makes it easier to recall that information the next day. So next time you’re stressed about your final exam, put down the Red Bull and let yourself get some rest.
4. You’ll get sick less often
As the winter approaches, getting sick becomes more and more likely as everyone around you comes down with a cold. Especially if you live in a dorm, staying away from other people’s germs is nearly impossible (it’s basically like being in preschool). If you find that you’re constantly getting sick, you should try getting a few more hours of sleep.
Sleep deprivation seriously weakens your immune system, which increases the likelihood that you’ll catch an illness after being exposed to it. In fact, one study found that after exposing 153 people to a common cold, those who slept less than 7 hours per night were three times more likely to get sick. We’re not in high school anymore — meaning that being sick is actually just an inconvenience in your life, not a good excuse to watch TV all day while skipping school.
5. You may live longer
That’s right! While it might take a little bit more than the benefits of sleep to make you live forever, people who consistently get enough sleep are likely to live longer than those who don’t. While the exact connection is still a little shaky (we still have a whole lot to learn about how our brains work), there may be a correlation between the amount of sleep you get and your lifespan.
In 2010. there was a study on women ages 50-79 that found more deaths occurred in women who were getting either too much or too little sleep. Again, maybe not a totally conclusive study, but definitely worth trying. We may be young now, but we won’t be young forever!
6. You’ll get through that creative block faster
If you’re the creative type and find that lately you have roughly 0% inspiration, try revisiting your projects after a good night’s sleep. Whether you’re not sure what to paint or write or compose a song about, recharging your brain will help you bring back that creative spark.
It’s pretty interesting — getting a good night of rest strengthens your memories. However, it also allows the brain to restructure and organize your thoughts differently, especially in regards to the emotional aspect of memories. All those filed emotions and a new perspective may be just what you need to get your artistic streak back.
7. Sleep can relieve symptoms of depression
While sleep alone is not enough to cure chronic depression, it may decrease your chances of experiencing symptoms of depression and other mood and emotion-related issues. There’s still no exact cause or explanation as to how or why this occurs, but studies have shown that people who don’t get the recommended amount of sleep are more likely to experience depression and anxiety.
It is important to note that this could be because of the fact that depression and anxiety often cause difficulty with sleeping, meaning that the people in the study may have had trouble sleeping because of preexisting depression.
8. It can improve your sex life
If you’ve been having a hard time getting ~in the mood~ lately, it may be because you’re just too freaking tired. All the Marvin Gaye and candles in the world won’t be enough to get your groove back if you’re not experiencing the benefits of sleep.
Being sleep deprived lowers your libido, which can make having sex seem like a hassle. Plus, a lack of sleep can increase the likelihood that you’ll experience difficulties in the bedroom (such as erectile dysfunction) that can be super-frustrating. Getting a good night’s sleep will have you feeling back to your old self in no time.
9. Sleep can help you with those ~gains~
If you’re finding that your workouts just haven’t been giving you the results you’re looking for, ask yourself if you’ve been getting enough sleep. The most important thing about sleep is that it’s the only time our bodies are able to truly recover and restore any damage we put it through while we’re awake.
If your muscles aren’t able to properly rebuild after you’ve been crushing weights at the gym, they straight-up won’t be able to grow. Plus, a healthy amount of sleep allows your body to release more growth hormones, meaning you’ll be looking buff AF in no time once your sleep schedule is on track.
10. You’ll be safer on the road
Everyone knows that drinking and driving is unbelievably dangerous. And while we all know that driving while drowsy is less-than-ideal, we often forget just how truly dangerous it can be. According to the results of NSF’s 2008 Sleep in America poll, 36 percent of American drive drowsy or fell asleep while driving.
What’s even crazier? Being awake for 16 or more hours can make your body act (and DRIVE) as if your blood alcohol level is .05%. Just a reminder, the legal limit is .08%, which means that staying awake for too long can make you feel pretty decently sauced. Making sure that you’re well-rested before getting into your sweet ride guarantees that you and those around you will be as safe as possible.
11. You’ll experience clearer skin
“Beauty sleep” is no myth, people! Making a good night of sleep a priority can have a huge, positive impact on your physical appearance. As we mentioned before, sleeping is the time when your body can recover — skin included. Getting the full benefits of sleep allows your body to produce collagen, improve blood flow to your face, and retain moisture. This mean fewer wrinkles, a healthy glow and fewer bags and discoloration underneath your eyes every morning.
Plus, getting a good night’s sleep will put you in an awesome mood the next day — and nothing’s more attractive than all that positive energy!
12. You’ll be less reckless with your spending
This one’s pretty crazy but it’s true. It’s no secret that being overtired can seriously impact your judgment and decision-making abilities, but have you ever thought about the impact that it could be having on your wallet? People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to make impulsive, risky and potentially-unwise financial decisions.
One study found that those who get enough sleep are less likely to make unsafe, risky decisions with their long-term in mind and opt instead for better, low-risk decisions in finance. If you find you’re acquiring an unusual amount of late-night impulse buys, try stealing a few more hours of sleep.
13. It’s great for your heart
There’s a pretty strong correlation between the amount of sleep you get and the health of your heart. That’s because when you’re overworked, overtired and overstressed, your heart is forced to work way harder than it should.
Being awake for extended amount of time increases your blood pressure. In fact, one study found that people who regularly get less than five hours of sleep per night are 45%< more likely to have a heart attack.
14. It guarantees you’ll develop healthily
For those of us under 25 years of age, getting enough sleep is especially important. Unfortunately, less than 15% of teenagers get 8.5 or more hours of sleep every night (the average is more like 6 hours). When you’re still a growing and developing adolescent, important growth hormones develop while you’re sleeping. Just remember, even if your parents are functioning on about five hours of sleep every night, teenagers are more active than any other age group, which means you require way more sleep than Mom and Dad do.
15. You’ll actually be able to do more
One of the biggest reasons people skip out on sleep is because there’s just too much to do in one day. Whether it’s finishing a paper, going out to a party, or getting lost in some dark hole of the internet, we find millions of reasons to stay awake.
However, getting a full night’s sleep means you’ll be able to approach tasks with more focus, attention, and energy. You’re way more likely to get all your stuff done after a full night’s rest than if you try pulling an all-nighter.
16. You’ll experience less pain
This is super wild. Getting the recommended amount of sleep has been shown to help you experience less physical pain. Whether you suffer from acute pain or you’re in the process of recovering from a recent injury — resting up can help a whole lot. This is because when you’re over-exhausted, your body has a lower tolerance for pain, meaning that you feel pain way more intensely than you normally would. In fact, researchers have found that sleep can even serve as a supplement for pain medication. Basically, getting your recommended 8 hours will make you feel like a superhero.
17. You Can Live your life with fewer ~regrets~
This is one benefit of sleep we can definitely get behind. Young adults are a notoriously impulsive and risky demographic. Studies have shown that teenagers who aren’t getting enough sleep are more likely to dabble in risky behaviors when it comes to things like driving drunk, binge drinking, abusing drugs and engaging in risky sexual activity — all of which can result in some seriously regrettable actions. Allow yourself a full night of sleep every night so you can approach things with a level head. Because who doesn’t want to live with as few regrets as possible?