When was the last time you heard anyone complain about getting too much sleep, or getting too much rest? People don’t grumble about being too well-rested. They don’t wish that they could just subtract one or two hours of sleep each night. In fact, nearly half of adults in the United States say that they don’t get enough sleep.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of American adults between the ages of 18 and 60 do not get enough sleep. The CDC recommends adults get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every single night. While you know that you need to get adequate sleep, you might not know why sleep is important. To put it simply, sleep is necessary for good health. Here are 3 reasons why sleep is important, and why you need more sleep.
Sleep affects brain function
A lack of sleep impairs your brain’s ability to function properly. According to a study from the AAA foundation, sleeping only 5 or 6 hours, rather than 7 hours, nearly doubles your risk for a motor accident. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Drowsy drivers are involved in almost 1 out of 5 fatal crashes in the United States each year.
It’s not just driving, either. Studies over the past century have shown that sleep-deprived people are less able to pay attention, less able to make wise decisions, and less able to remember things. Recent studies suggest that much of this is related to metabolic changes caused by too little sleep.
Sleep affects your physical health
Getting enough sleep helps your body to function properly. Sleep ensures healthy growth and development, and getting adequate sleep promotes a healthy immune system.
Health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and stroke are all associated with prolonged sleep deficiency.
Sleep affects mental health and mood
While there are many studies on how sleep affects mental health and mood, it’s easy to see the effects of sleep deficiency firsthand. Lack of sleep can leave people feeling upset and disoriented, and it can make everyday tasks more challenging than they would otherwise be.
Sleep improves learning and cognitive function, whereas sleep deficiency is linked with depression, suicide, and risky behaviors.
Make sleep a priority
Everyone says that they need more sleep, but not everyone makes an effort to actually sleep more. Sleep is vital to good health, and while it’s often the first thing to get trimmed, sleep shouldn’t be neglected. Make sleep a priority. Sleep affects your mental health, physical health, and your overall quality of life.
If you’re not just staying up too late, you may be suffering from insomnia. Talk to your primary healthcare provider about sleep issues. Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist.