The Importance of Getting Enough Sleep
We all crave the magic formula in the evening, how to sleep the right amount. Unfortunately for mankind, there isn’t yet a perfected routine for getting enough zzzzzs, merely suggestions of how much we need, and why we need it. The NHS recommends that about eight hours of good quality kip allows our bodies to function properly, while Sleep Cycle suggest that on average Britons get 7 hours 24 minutes in – so on average, and on paper, we’re not a million miles away, but those missed minutes and hours soon take their toll, and vast quantities of us are falling behind.
It’s not as simple as just topping up on your sleep at the weekend after a restless working week because we build up a sleep debt with our bodies that can soon get overdrawn. The shortfall is one that needs to be paid back over a period of time, with a regular sleep pattern to reap the rewards. So what does this precious parked session in bed get you?
Boosted Immune System
We’re more energised when we’ve got enough sleep, and as a result are less likely to get ill. Sustained sleep can help you to ward off the threat of flu during the winter months, especially when there’s a storm of coughs and snuffles a-brewin’ all round you.
Improved Sex Drive
Yes, that’s right, by soaking up enough sleep your libido can rise. Sleep specialists have reported that men and women who are sleep deprived have lower sex drives and are less interest in sex, with reduced energy and tiredness two major factors of poor performance in bed.
Helps to Beat the Bulge
Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can slow your metabolism down, encouraging appetite and making it easier to pile on the pounds. Calorie intake increases, largely through night-time snacking, and as result weight is easily gained.
Lowers the Risk of Premature Death
Those of us who don’t regularly get enough shut eye are more susceptible to a collection of medical conditions. Insomniacs have a higher risk of heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure and diabetes, plus a heightened chance of developing anxiety or depression. Perhaps most concerning is that a lack of sleep can more than double the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. So a good night’s sleep really can go some way to saving your life.
Forgetfulness is history
If you don’t get enough sleep it can start to affect your ability to learn and absorb information. In the long term, you are likely to face increased forgetfulness. Our memories are consolidated during our deepest periods of sleep, which happen less often with shorter amounts of time asleep. So ahead of that big exam, don’t stay up cramming until the last minute, more sleep could help you get those grades.
So there we have it, there’s no doubting how vital sleep is to both our day-to-day lives and also in the long-term. The take home message seems to be to have a routine, and whenever possible, to stick to it. Sleeping is such an enjoyable activity, being in such a comfortable place for a number of hours, so make the most of it if you can.