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Everyone relishes a good night sleep. From feeling rested to kissing those dark circles under our eyes goodbye, the benefits of logging in some long hours between the sheets are as obvious as they are rejuvenating.
Or are they? According to researchers, maximizing your snoozing has some surprising health and lifestyle benefits, many of which are deeper and more far reaching than most of us can imagine.
So why should we strive to get our eight hours each night? Let’s take a closer look at the wonders adequate sleep can do for our lives.
Remember when your high school teachers told you that getting a good night’s sleep before the SAT was better than staying up and cramming? Turns out they were right. That’s because our brains actually absorb the crucial things we’ve seen and learned during waking hours while we’re sleeping.
We’re often at our hungriest when we’re sleep deprived. That’s because sleep and metabolism are linked. When we’re tired, the same hormones that promote appetite spike in our blood. For most of us, that leads to binge eating. And, even if you are diligent about your diet, research has shown that if you’re sleep deprived you’ll shed more muscle mass than fat.
We all have that one always-on-the-go, live-life-to-the-fullest friend who proclaims they’ll “sleep when they’re dead.” Well, that day might come sooner rather than later if they don’t revise their ways. Because sleep quality is linked to longevity. Researchers have found that adults who average seven hours of sleep per night enjoy a longer life expectancy than those who get less.
Become a Creative Genius
Want to harness your inner artist? Finally write the great American novel? In addition to boosting our memory, sleep also helps our brain restructure our memories and attach emotional weight to them. Therefore, extra sleep fuels the subconscious, priming it for creative endeavors.
We live in stressful times. Between the constant barrage of work emails lighting up our smart phones to the demands of family life, it’s amazing we get any sleep at all. But we should. Consistent quality sleep is linked to decreased stress levels and increased cardiovascular health.
As any married man or woman will tell you, nothing puts a damper on the mood more than hearing a spouse utter those fateful three words: “I am tired.” Our sex lives tend to suffer when one or both partners are too tired. In fact, men’s testosterone levels decrease due to a lack of sleep. A good night’s sleep, on the other hand, has the ability to put the spice back into your relationship.
Sleep has an inverse relation to our anxiety levels. Meaning the less sleep we get the more anxious we get, which can lead to mood swings and depression. By getting consistent sleep throughout the week, rather than trying to make up for a lack of it on weekends, we’ll enjoy more emotional stability.
You’ll be Healthier
Will committing to good, consistent sleep inoculate you from all diseases? Sadly, no. But it is linked to a healthier life, while a lack of sleep can cause serious health problems, from heart disease and heart attacks to diabetes and obesity.
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