You probably know that you should be sleeping seven to nine hours a night, but do you really know why? It’s not just that you’ll feel more energy (although that’s a definite plus). There are a lot of other benefits that arise when you prioritize sleep. That’s because while you’re asleep, your body is hard at work healing itself and optimizing different processes. The result: better physical and mental health when you wake up in the morning.
These are just five of the benefits that you’ll experience when you’re well rested:
- You’re better able to focus and learn. When you have had a good night’s sleep, it’s easier to keep your attention on something long enough to learn it and remember it. You are also likelier to have fewer memory problems—meaning you’re less likely to blank on your neighbor’s name or where you put your keys.
- You feel happier. When you’re sleep-deprived, your emotions are harder to control, you feel more stressed, and you find it tougher to cope with upsetting things. So the more sleep that you get, the less cranky you’re going to feel.
- You’re more productive. At work, you’ll notice that you get through tasks faster and make fewer mistakes.
- You’re less hungry. Sleeping helps regulate two important hormones: ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry, and leptin, which makes you feel full. If you don’t get enough sleep, those hormones don’t act correctly and you feel hungrier. This is one of the reasons why people who are sleep-deprived are likelier to struggle with their weight.
- You won’t get sick as often. Your immune system needs sleep to stay strong and fight off colds and other infections. And in the long-term, getting plenty of sleep helps reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other serious diseases.