5 Reasons to Make Sleep a Priority

Despite being 24 hours in a day, there never seems to be enough time to accomplish everything you need. From work and family obligations to practicing self-care and investing in your health, it can be seemingly impossible to get it all done. 

Unfortunately, one of the first things we sacrifice is sleep. Staying up late to finish a few last-minute tasks or setting your alarm an hour early to hit the gym may seem beneficial at the moment but, truth be told, compromising your sleep is one of the worst things you can do. If you’re forgoing much-needed sleep at night to get things done during the day, keep reading. In this article, we’ll explain five reasons why you need to make sleep a top priority in your life. 

1. Sleep Makes You Happier

If you’ve ever been in the presence of a cranky infant or child who’s in need of a nap, you know that lack of sleep can make a person pretty miserable. And this doesn’t change as we age. When you wake up after a fitful night’s sleep, chances are, you feel groggy, irritable, and unmotivated. This is one reason why chronic sleep deprivation and insomnia are linked to depression. Without adequate, quality sleep, you can’t regulate your emotions properly and are more vulnerable to stress and anxiety. 

It’s recommended that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. This gives your brain and body ample time to move through the four important stages of sleep, with REM having the greatest impact on your mood. During this stage of sleep, your brain processes memories and helps regulate your emotions. When you wake to feel rested, rejuvenated, and focused, you’re better able to handle whatever the day throws at you. Chronic insomnia sufferers often turn to anxiety medication like Lorezapam to help reduce depressive symptoms and improve sleep. 

2. Sleep Helps Keep You Healthy

Sleep is essential for both your mental and physical wellbeing. In addition to regulating your mood and promoting cognitive function, sleep strengthens your immune system, promotes a healthy weight, and reduces your risk of developing dangerous illnesses including diabetes and heart disease. 

Whether you’re currently dealing with a medical condition or want to practice preventative care, you need to make sleep a priority. According to medical professionals and sleep experts, sleep affects almost every tissue in the human body. Sleep impacts growth and stress hormones, breathing, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, and your immune system. Sleep also gives you the energy needed to perform daily activities including exercise. During sleep, your muscles also grow and repair themselves. If you want to see those muscle gains you’ve been chasing at the gym, you need to chase some zs at night. 

3. Sleep Makes You Smarter

It’s no secret that when you don’t sleep enough at night, it’s difficult to focus during the day. This isn’t just a coincidence. Sleep actually affects cognitive function, learning, and memory strength and consolidation. At night, when you finally take a minute to rest and recharge your body, your brain is working hard at sorting through the day’s events and information. Consolidation of memories doesn’t just help keep you sharp, it also facilitates future learning. Studies also show that sleep-deprived individuals can’t focus or obtain information in the same way as those who are well-rested. 

 

Sleep also contributes to creativity. While the left side of the brain is credited with being more creative, both sides play an important part in the creative process. Quality sleep helps your brain make important connections, which supports and fuels creativity. Without sufficient sleep, the brain struggles to perform at its best, form new ideas, or come up with innovative solutions for everyday problems. 

4. Sleep Promotes Success

When it comes to setting and crushing your goals, sleep is a must. This applies to both your professional and personal life. In order to succeed, your body needs to be in tip-top shape – and without adequate sleep, that’s nearly impossible.

Because sleep is essential for regulating your emotions and preventing depression, stress, and anxiety, you need it to form and maintain healthy relationships. Left untreated, the same chronic sleep deprivation that leaves you feeling irritable and moody can have significant impacts on your personality. Some sleep-deprived people experience extreme mood swings, and emotional outbursts, and may notice more negative interactions with their friends and loved ones. 

The inability to regulate your emotions can carry over into your work life as well. Becoming easily agitated and having a short temper can result in interoffice conflict that may impact your job and livelihood. As previously mentioned, sleep is essential for creativity, retaining information, and learning new things. When you don’t make sleep a priority, you’re giving your competitors an upper hand. You could potentially miss out on new job opportunities or even a promotion. 

5. Sleep Affects All Areas of Life 

Quality sleep isn’t related to just one area of your life. How much or how little sleep you get each night directly affects your overall wellbeing and all aspects of your health – mentally, physically, and emotionally. When you’re not feeling your best, it’s impossible to set and accomplish goals, maintain relationships, or function in daily life, including at work and school. 

 

You need to make sleep a priority the same way you do other parts of your health. For example, you make time to hit the gym to stay in shape or cook yourself nutritious meals to maintain a healthy weight. In the same way, you need to make time for quality sleep. By incorporating a few simple changes in your nighttime routine and environment, you can support quality sleep. Invest in quality bedding that’s both comfortable and supportive. A reliable mattress can cost as low as $150 but the benefits you’ll experience are priceless. Eliminate noise and light distractions in your bedroom by hanging room darkening shades, or using a sleep mask or sound machine. Ditch the electronics before bed as well, since the blue light from most screens interferes with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. 

Last but not least, adopt a healthy bedtime routine that not only makes it easier to fall and stay asleep but helps reduce anxiety and stress. Things like taking a warm soothing bath, listening to music, or writing in a sleep journal can all help prepare you for sleep and signal your brain and body that it’s time for bed. CBTi is a popular method used in sleep therapy to help those with insomnia adopt healthier patterns of behavior associated with sleep. 

Invest in Yourself by Investing in Your Sleep Habits

Getting sufficient sleep at night is about more than just reducing the signs of aging or warding off those pesky bags under your eyes. Your brain and body need sleep to function at optimal levels. If you’ve noticed difficulty concentrating, a lack of energy, or drastic mood swings, they may be signs that your sleep hygiene is suffering. By making sleep a priority, you’ll notice other aspects of your life improve.

Check out our other pages before you go for more tips on living your best, healthiest, and most productive life. 

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