We spend roughly a third of our life asleep. Spelled out like that, it sounds like quite a lot. However, instead of looking at all of these hours as a waste of time, we should start appreciating them for what they are able to do: prolong our lives.
Sleep is vital to every single aspect of our mental and physical health. Yet, we so often choose to sacrifice it for a whole range of reasons. In this post, we’ll be looking at the relationship between sleep and life expectancy. Hopefully, by the time you’ve read it, you’ll decide to get a good night’s rest tonight.
Sleep Boosts Your Immune System
When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system begins to suffer. This means you are much more likely to catch a cold or the flu, as your body’s defense mechanisms aren’t as effective as usual. You may also need longer to recover from an illness than you usually would.
Sleep Is Good for Your Mood
Getting enough sleep will also stabilize your mood, ensuring you feel better about life in general. The irritability and grumpiness that come with sleep deprivation can lead to all kinds of friction at home and at work, further dampening your mood and causing additional stress.
Sleep Helps You Stay Fit
When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it will likely crave caffeine and sugar to stay energized. This can lead to unwanted weight gain, which can, in turn, lead to other health conditions.
If you also happen to be working out and not getting enough sleep, you won’t be making as much progress as you could. Your muscles simply won’t have enough time to rebuild themselves.
Sleep Prevents Diabetes
The blood sugar spikes and drops you suffer from when you don’t get enough sleep can lead to type II diabetes in some cases. Just by spending more time asleep, you’ll be able to better manage your blood glucose levels.
Sleep Is Good for Your Heart
When you are sleep-deprived for a prolonged period, your heart health may begin to suffer. The blood pressure changes caused by a lack of sleep start to impact it more severely. In the extreme, this can lead to a stroke or a heart attack.
Sleep Improves Your Memory
While we are asleep, our brain makes the long-term connections that turn our daily experiences into memories and knowledge. Without it, we can’t retain as much information, make decisions, or come to conclusions as we normally would. Lack of sleep can make us infinitely more sluggish.
Lack of Sleep Makes You More Accident-Prone
When you’re sleep-deprived, your reaction times are slower, and you are more prone to accidents. You may be less attentive while driving, you may slip and fall while walking to work, or you may start dropping and breaking things around you.
Also, lack of sleep impairs your judgment, so you may find yourself doing things that aren’t completely sound. For example, that might be crossing the road at the wrong time or taking the wrong turn.
How to Sleep Better
There are numerous ways to improve the quality of your sleep. However, the first step is always ensuring that you’re getting enough of it. Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep, and you can experiment a bit to discover how much is enough for you. Remember, sleeping too much can also have negative consequences.
Make sure you have a high-quality mattress and implement a sleep routine that helps you fall asleep more easily. For starters, ban all electronics from the bedroom (including your phone), and use an alarm clock to wake you up. Stop looking at screens an hour before bedtime. Instead, read a book or do something that does not require the use of technology.
Do the same activities in the same order every evening, and you will soon notice how much more relaxed you feel and how much better your sleep has become.
Sleep can literally prolong your life, and when you don’t get enough of it, you are likely to suffer from all kinds of unpleasant health conditions. Prioritize your sleep today, and your future self will thank you for it.