Seven Reasons Why You Need Seven Hours of Sleep
According to general thought, there are five basic functions required for human beings to survive: air, water, food, shelter, and sleep. As you read that sentence, it is safe to assume you are breathing air and have consumed food and water recently. I will also go out on a limb to say you have access to shelter as you are reading this article electronically. While it is sort of a given that most people do not go without those first four functions, the fifth is commonly neglected: sleep. According to the CDC , one in three adults do not get the standard seven or more hours of sleep required to promote optimal health and wellbeing.
As one of the key components to human survival, sleep should be prioritized, just as the other essential functions are, and here is why:
Sleep can be neglected for a variety of reasons, one of them being a need to accomplish tasks left unfinished throughout the day. While sometimes unavoidable, prioritizing a good night’s sleep can have important effects on both the day prior and the day after. When permanently allocating the right amount of time for sleep into your daily routine, you are less likely to put off important tasks until later, increasing proactivity throughout the day. Not to mention the fact that a good night’s sleep will leave you feeling more alert and energized the following day.
Getting the adequate amount of sleep is specifically important for kids and teens, who are still in the process of growth and development. Without proper sleep, certain cognitive functions may develop slower and less effectively. Sleep is also a necessity for kids and teens to remain focused and alert throughout the school day.
While dieting and appetite control are a common fad in today’s culture, one of the most practical ways to tackle weight problems is through sleep. When sleep deprived, the chemicals that signal to your brain that you are full are some of the first to slow down. According to a study done by Harvard Medical School in 2013 women who sleep five hours a night are thirty-two percent more likely to gain thirty pounds or more as they age than women who sleep seven hours or more. The same researchers also concluded that people who slept two hours more a day, ate 300 less calories than they would have sleeping less.
One of the most underrated benefits of adequate sleep is its effect on your appearance. Lack of sleep can slow down your metabolism, resulting in faster aging. Growth hormones that keep better muscle mass and skin are known to dissipate with sleep deprivation.
#5 Internal Functions
Sleep has an enormous effect on many of the bodily functions we don’t even know occur. Someone who routinely gets less than seven hours of sleep is at a heightened risk of type two diabetes as the body slows down its production of insulin when sleep deprived. Sleeping less than five hours is also often linked to higher blood pressure. Beyond this, sleep deprivation has also been associated with malfunctions of the heart including: heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, and irregular heartbeat.
The effect sleep has on a person’s mood goes with saying. When just simply tired, it is easy to be moody, emotional, or quick tempered. When sleep deprived, these reactions only increase, potentially damaging personal and professional relationships.
#7 Memory and Concentration
During sleep, your brain forms connections and helps you cognitively process and recall new information. When sleep deprived, this processing slows down, resulting in memory problems. The drowsiness that comes with a lack of sleep also weakens your problem-solving skills and productivity.
Sleep has a rightful place alongside air, food, water, and shelter. Whoever you are, getting seven or more hours of sleep should be a priority because no matter how hard you may try, it is impossible to live without.