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Importance of Sleep and Your
Personal Wellbeing

By Mikkie Mills

In the modern world, many people pride themselves on how little sleep they can get each night. However, more and more research is finding that this attitude towards sleep might actually be very problematic. The average adult needs somewhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night to reach optimal functioning. Sleep is actually a necessary part of keeping your body healthy. When you manage to get enough sleep each night, you enjoy these great benefits.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Several different studies have found a close link between poor sleep quality and obesity. The way that sleep affects weight is primarily through calorie intake. When you are feeling tired and sleep deprived, you are more likely to reach for sugary snacks to wake you up and get you through the day. Even if you do not notice your sleep deprivation, you are more likely to eat extra calories.

Live Longer

A massive study that followed thousands of participants over several years found that those who got less than six hours of sleep a night on average were 12 percent more likely to die prematurely. Sleep helps to increase lifespan because it greatly reduces stress. People with high stress levels have elevated blood pressure, and the constant strain that high blood pressure puts on blood vessels can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other potentially fatal conditions.

Think More Clearly

Almost everyone can think of a time when they did poorly on a test or a big work presentation because they were too tired to focus. People who are sleep deprived often report that they feel foggy and unable to concentrate properly. This sort of anecdotal evidence is backed up by plenty of studies that find people struggle with focus, logic, and analytical thinking when they are tired. Even smaller amounts of sleep deprivation can be enough to keep you from thinking at your best levels. If you have a big day tomorrow, you definitely need to take the time to get enough sleep tonight.

Reduce Dementia Risks

If these other reasons are not enough to have you purchasing a latex mattress and blackout curtains yet, a reduced risk of Alzheimer's is definitely a major reason to try to get better sleep. You can reduce your chances of getting dementia when old by sleeping because the body only removes certain dementia-causing proteins from the brain while a person is sleeping. The research recommends that you need more than five hours of sleep each night to lower dementia risks.

Boost Your Mood

Sleep and depression are very closely related, so people who suffer from insomnia are far more likely to end up with depression. A lack of sleep does more than just make you feel a little grumpy and tired the next day. It causes elevated levels of cortisol and other stress hormones, and chronically high levels of these important brain chemicals can end up causing chemical imbalances that lead to depression.

Getting a good night's sleep is important because it helps you be focused and alert each day, and it also helps you to stay healthy in the long term. There are a few key things you can do to make sure you get enough sleep. Always go to bed and wake up at the same time, and avoid caffeine six hours before you sleep. Be sure to have a comfortable bed in a room that is quite and dark, and try to stop using screens at least an hour before bed. By practicing good sleep habits, you can get all the great benefits of sleep.

About Mikkie Mills: “I’m a Chicago native who loves to share her expertise about personal development and growth. When I’m not writing, I’m chasing the little ones around or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.” More articles by Mikkie.

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