From counting sheep to extra cups of coffee—not getting a proper night’s sleep is a drag. We’ve all experienced a night of not enough or bad quality sleep. The next day tends to involve plenty of yawns, clouded thinking, a lack of motivation, and daydreams of returning to bed. In other words, you aren’t your best self when you’re tired, and science backs this up.
Exactly how much sleep do you need, and what happens if you don’t get enough? While it varies from person to person, the average adult needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, while babies require 16 hours, children 10 hours, and teenagers 9 hours. According to the CDC, one in three adults are not hitting these numbers.
While brain fog and fatigue can slow you down, these symptoms don’t seem that serious. However, chronic sleep deprivation is associated with serious health issues including heart disease, obesity, and stroke. The benefits of a full night’s sleep are substantial.
Here are five major benefits of getting a good night’s sleep:
Benefits of Quality Sleep
- Memory Formation: Going through full REM cycles can help strengthen and fortify memory, leading to better memory retention. The average cycle in a full 8 hours of sleep is 4 to 5.
- Weight Control: Getting a full 8 hours can help control and regulate body weight. Lack of sleep has been linked to higher levels of ghrelin (the hormone responsible for stimulating appetite), and lower levels of leptin (the hormone responsible for suppressing appetite) which can lead to overeating and poor food choices.
- Injury Repair: While sleep is a time to rest the mind, it’s also a time for the body to rest and repair. While you’re sleeping your body produces more protein, which it then uses to repair damaged cells.
- Emotional Balance: Research has shown that sleep deprivation compromises your brain’s ability to clearly make decisions, solve problems, and control emotions. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to anxiety and depression. Give your brain and your emotions a break with a good night’s sleep.
- Life Expectancy: The biggest takeaway is that too little sleep has been shown to lead to a shorter life expectancy. For a better quality of life and longevity of life shoot for a full 8 hours.
While the benefits of a full night’s sleep are huge, it can feel impossible to find the time to prioritize sleep in our busy lives. Here’s some tips to help you get more sleep:
Tips to Get More Sleep
- 1. Establish a routineGo to bed and wake up at the same time everyday to set a routine. This includes on the weekends.
2. Reduce blue light
Computer and phone screens emit a blue light that can trick the brain into thinking it’s daytime, making it harder to wind down and fall asleep. Try turning off screens a couple of hours before bed. You can also utilize blue light blocking screen covers or glasses.
Falling asleep can seem impossible when your mind is running a mile a minute. Take the time before bed to wind down. Try a relaxing hot bath, calming scents like lavender, or a meditation app to help you slow things down and get in the right mindset for sleep.
4. Cut the stimulants
Stimulants like nicotine, chocolate, and coffee can make falling asleep difficult. Avoid stimulants at least four hours before bedtime.