Here’s a scary statistic that’ll keep you up at night: more than 1/4 of the US population doesn’t get enough sleep.
Think about it: that means 1/4 of your coworkers are probably flying on autopilot. Surprise: it’s Susan who just spilled coffee all over her keyboard and forgot to shoot you the outline from yesterday’s meeting that you missed.
Susan’s not alone. And she’s one of the over 25 percent of us who are not only lacking Zs but also potentially lacking some serious health benefits. So, to give you a little more convincing (as if you needed it!) we’re dishing you the top 4 reasons why you should be getting a solid 8 hours of QT with the back of your eyelids every night.
1. GIVE YOURSELF (AND YOUR MUSCLES) A BREAK
Even if you treat your body like a well-oiled machine – like hitting the gym on the reg, sticking to a healthy, balanced diet – without sleep you are not maximizing your quality of life and overall health. Following exercise, your body and muscles need rest to recover, rebuild and come back stronger.
2. “WAIT, BUT I AM PAYING ATTENTION…”
No surprise here: when you don’t get enough sleep, it eventually catches up with you. You’re exhausted! From heavy eyelids to the inability to focus on anything, anywhere—you’re not as productive and it can actually be dangerous. (Nodding off while driving? NOT safe for anyone and it’s actually just as dangerous as drunk driving.) When you’re well rested, your cognitive performance is on-point and your reaction time is up to speed. Bottom line: you’re sharper and safer.
3. CHECK THE SCALE: THE PROOF IS IN THE NUMBERS
Wondering about mysterious weight gain? Working out but the scale isn’t budging? Check your sleep.
A solid night of slumber can provide you with the energy you need to be active and go the extra mile to meet your weight management goals. But sleep-deprivation has been shown to impact decision-making and willpower; this can lead you to potentially choose the couch over the gym or bag of chips instead of a salad, which will not help you reach your goals.
4. THE BIG PICTURE
Lack of sleep also goes far beyond being physically and mentally exhausted; it’s linked to a number of major health issues such as increased risk for obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression.
Dreaming of a more restful sleep? Try these helpful tips:
Choose your routine and stick with it. Go to bed the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. Switching up your schedule may lead to insomnia.
2. GET MOVING
Exercise 20-30 minutes a day for quality, longer-duration sleep—but do it at least 5-6 hours before bed for maximum results. Doing it soon before you hit the hay can actually boost your energy and interfere with sleep.
Take a warm bath, read a book or do something else that relaxes you. By training yourself to associate certain restful activities with sleep, you can make them a part of your bedtime ritual.
4. REST EASY WITH MELATONIN
Melatonin is a hormone found in your body that plays a huge role in sleep by regulating night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles. Darkness causes your body to produce more melatonin—signaling your body to prep for sleep.