People frequently think that snoozing is losing when in reality it’s the lack of sleep that creates a slippery slope toward bad physical and mental health. According to a recent Gallup report, 41% of Americans are getting less than seven hours of sleep per night – which has some pretty alarming effects on mind and body functions as mentioned below:
1. Decrease in Productivity: Without adequate sleep, it becomes difficult to focus and make logical decisions. Retrieving memories also becomes more complicated because they are strengthened during slumber. Without a good night’s rest, not only will it be harder to keep memories, but also harder to access them later on.
2. Long-term Health Consequences: Harvard Medical School conducted studies that show there are long-term health consequences for those who do not get enough sleep regularly–including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and more. They also found that sleeping more than nine hours a night can have adverse effects. So it’s all about striking the perfect balance.
3. Increased Appetite for Unhealthy Foods: According to a study done recently by the University of Chicago, there appears to be a relationship between being short on sleep and having an excessive appetite for junk foods. This happens because when we’re not well-rested, our body gets confused and mistakes feelings of fatigue for hunger pangs. As a result, we start yearning for quick fixes like carbohydrates found in unhealthy sweets, salty snacks, and starchy dishes.
4. Increased Chance of Accidents: The Harvard School of Medicine, Sleep Division, explains that a lack of sleep can create a public safety hazard. Take the most recent train derailment in New York City as an example. According to the Huffington Post, there was evidence that showed the train conductor had not gotten enough sleep before the crash. Although other factors may have played a role too, exhaustion was definitely one of them.
5. Emotional Instability and Higher Levels of Anxiety: If you’re sleep deprived, you might be more prone to anxiety and depression. A study from the University of Berkeley found that people who missed just one night of sleep were significantly more emotional. In fact, their emotional centers were 60% more reactive. So if you’re struggling to get enough rest, it could be affecting your mental health in a big way.
The moral of the story is that getting eight hours of sleep a night is important.