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4 Surprising Health Benefits of A Good Night’s Sleep

happy woman jumping after good night's sleep

September 1, 2017 | Categories: ,

You already know that not getting enough quality sleep can make you irritable, short-tempered, and exhausted. But that’s not the only thing that can happen when you short change your body of much-needed pillow time. Here’s why you need to get to bed earlier tonight.

  1. You’ll be happier. Science has discovered plenty of associations between sleep and depression. Between 15 and 20 percent of people who are diagnosed with insomnia likely develop major depression. And it’s not just the amount of sleep you get—a restless night can also have an effect on your mood: One study which looked at 62 healthy sleepers found that when they were forced awake in the middle of the night several times for the experiment, their moods were more negative the next day than when they had sleep loss from a delayed bedtime and otherwise slept through the night. So even if you think you’re going to bed at a reasonable hour, if you keep waking up throughout the night (like crying children, your cat pouncing on the bed, or car alarms waking you up at night) you’re more likely to feel down the next day than if you simply went to bed late. (How to use mindfulness to stop bad habits.)
  2. You’ll be slimmer. Research continues to show a link between lack of sleep and weight gain. One study from The Endocrine Society discovered that even a 30-minute sleep debt could have a significant impact on obesity and insulin resistance. Other research has found that people who were sleep deprived ate an extra 385 more calories the next day than people who logged enough hours of quality sleep the night before. (Lose those last 10 pounds.)
  3. You’ll be more fun to be around. Ever feel like you’re having a more emotional reaction to a negative situation when you didn’t sleep well the night before? Science says we’re more likely to react emotionally to a stressor when you’ve experienced sleep loss. So crying (or simply getting more upset than usual) over that broken cell phone or a flat tire is more likely when you’ve been having a bad week of sleep.
  4. You’ll remember this article. You’ve probably also discovered that when you’re really tired, you have trouble concentrating, remembering where you put your keys, and focusing on the task at hand. That’s because sleep helps your brain reset, so it can learn and remember during your waking hours. Scientists also suspect that sleep deprivation may also impact the brain’s ability to make new memories. Learn about health problems that ruin concentration.

 (This article originally appeared in The Power of Mindfulness 2017 magazine.)

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