What Sleep Can do for you

by Dair Rose

Sleep feels great, especially after a long day, but it’s also a big part of living a healthy and productive life. Whether you realize it or not, getting enough sleep can make a huge difference in your life, driving successful weight loss, lower stress levels, and so much more.

Improved Productivity

We’ve all been there – after a rough night with only a few hours of sleep, you find yourself downing cup after cup of coffee in an effort to stay awake. Your brain feels like it’s in a fog, and answering even simple questions can seem akin to climbing Mount Everest.

No matter how determined you are to succeed, productivity hits a slump when you’re underslept. Critical thinking skills diminish, word finding increases, and decision-making suffers. As a lack of sleep continues, these side effects worsen, leading to compromised job performance, problems at school, and even relationship challenges. Bottom line? If you’re not getting at least seven hours of quality sleep each night, your productivity is at risk.

Increased Likelihood of Weight Loss

Feel like you’ve packed on the pounds and all the careful calorie counting and exercise in the world doesn’t make a difference? Try getting more sleep.

Even if staying up a little later to squeeze in more exercise seems compelling, the real value in losing weight may lie in the bedroom. When you’re exhausted and not functioning at full capacity, you’re at risk for making worse lifestyle choices out of desperation, like picking up fast food instead of cooking a filling meal. Further, the decreased productivity experienced when underslept can affect your exercise, sending you to the couch rather than to the gym.

If seeing the numbers on the scale decrease is a goal, focus your energy on more time in bed.

Reduced Stress

Stress and anxiety run the show for most adults, from financial stressors at home to performance pressure at work. Unfortunately, failing to get enough shut-eye only makes things worse. A lack of sleep can make it harder to relax and process challenging situations; the pre-frontal cortex doesn’t function up to par when you’re fatigued, leaving you unable to make smart decisions and potentially increasing the problems you’re up against in all aspects of life.

Going to bed with only a limited time to sleep can also cause stress, piling on more pressure. When this kind of sleepless trend continues over a long period of time, you may fall into a vicious cycle of fatigue and stress that’s almost impossible to escape.

Decreased Health Risks

A lack of sleep can feel bad in the moment, but the ramifications in the long term can add up to something a lot more serious. Inadequate sleep has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, and stroke as well as a heightened likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Health risks aren’t all physical, either – mental health and sleep are directly linked. A few bad weeks or months can cause depression and anxiety, creating a negative environment that has the ability to spill into many other areas of your life.

At the end of the day, the better you sleep, the healthier you are.