Benefits of Sleep

Man Sleeping on His Couch.

Over a quarter of all Americans experience occasional lack of sleep according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That is approximately 77 million (2011) people with an additional 30 million suffering from chronic insomnia. Anything from stress to our eating habits can contribute to inadequate sleep.

Depression, stress, obesity, and memory loss are only a few symptoms of sleep deprivation. Even your looks can suffer!

The following list are some benefits of sleep:

Benefits of Sleep - Better Mood

Improved mood is one of the benefits of sleep. Lack of sleep often leads to irritability and mood swings. We have all witnessed this, either in ourselves or others. Studies have even shown a relationship between long term depression and sleep behavior when insufficient sleep is a recurring problem for an individual. According to the CDC, recent research has shown that some symptoms of depression may decrease once quality sleep has been restored.

Take steps to improve your mood, and reduce your risk of depression by getting good and consistent sleep.

Sleep Away the Stress

Another one of the benefits of sleep is improved mood.  Since lack of sleep causes mood swings and irritability, it affects our ability to handle daily stresses and situations. Those that are well rested are mentally focused and able to handle situations better than those who do not get enough sleep. To compound this situation, excessive stress levels increases levels of cortisol which has been shown to increase weight gain and disrupt sleep patterns.

Sleep to Control Weight

Controlling weight is also one of the many benefits of sleep. Lack of sleep is a major cause of weight gain. In fact, studies have shown that those who tend to get inadequate amounts of sleep, often weigh more. Sleep affects weight in a variety of ways.

Sleep deprivation causes hormone imbalances in your body that trigger appetite. These hormones, Leptin and Ghrelin, are supposed to counteract each other. Leptin sends a signal to your brain letting you know you are “full” and Ghrelin controls your appetite. When you are sleep deprived Leptin levels drop(unsatisfied hunger) and Ghrelin levels rise (increased appetite). This basically creates a hunger that you cannot seem to satisfy. You also tend to develop cravings for unhealthy foods that are loaded with fats, sugars and carbohydrates.

Sleep also affects your fitness activities. When you are tired, you often lack the motivation and energy to get sufficient amounts of exercise. If you do manage to make it to the gym or engage in some type of exercise, you usually do not get the full benefit.

Getting enough sleep will help you keep your hunger and cravings in check as well as give you the energy to get in a good workout.

Sleep to Improve Memory and Learning Ability

Improved memory and learning ability are benefits of sleep. Sleep directly affects our memory and our ability to retain information. Lack of sleep causes your brain to lose certain functionality. This also includes physical abilities such as reaction time. If you are too tired, it is very difficult to concentrate and focus on the things going on around you. Numerous studies have revealed that those who get a good nights sleep do better at remembering tasks and learning new things than those who do not get a good nights rest. These studies have also shown that the amount of sleep hours also affect learning and memory ability.

Get enough rest and be at the top of your game. Improve your memory and the ability to learn.

Sleep to Stay Looking Young and Fresh

There really is some truth in the term “Beauty Sleep”. Being tired causes some of us to develop bags under our eyes and premature wrinkles. Studies have shown that individuals who are sleep deprived usually appear older than their well rested counterparts. In fact, a study which consisted of people rating a persons attractiveness based on photos, found that those who slept well fared much better than those who did not get enough sleep.

Get enough sleep to look your best!

Get enough shut-eye on a regular basis to enjoy these benefits of sleep.

Shane Walker

About the Author: 

A man of many trades! Shane is a health enthusiast, actor, developer, and founder/contributor of DevelopmentalMan.com.
Visit him on his website: ShanePaulWalker.com

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References:
1.) Sleep and Sleep Disorders. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/index.htm

Image Sources:

  • Man Sleeping on His Couch: Minerva Studio | Fotolia

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