In American culture, the mantra is typically: “You snooze, you lose.” But in reality, if you don’t snooze, you lose! Below, find out how getting an optimal amount of sleep each night can lead to physical, cognitive, and emotional improvements during the day.
Sleep is important for healthy immune function, because it boosts your odds of fighting off infections that you may be exposed to on any given day. It also helps regulate body temperature, hormone levels, digestion, and appetite. So if you stay up until the wee hours of the morning, you might feel very cold and/or experience digestive distress or changes in your appetite (hello, carb cravings!) Staying well rested can also enhance physical attributes that may improve your overall athletic performance, including your energy level, coordination, agility, speed, and endurance. In fact, find out how a growing number of athletes are making sleep a priority.
It’s no secret that high-quality shut-eye is important for attention, concentration, reflexes, decision-making, and judgment. If you get enough quality sleep each night, you should be able to sustain alertness and focus for much of the day. If you don’t, you may struggle to function optimally at work, at home, or anywhere else—and you may not be as sharp, productive, or creative as you’d like to be. That’s why sleep-deprived people are a hazard behind the wheel and are at higher risk for injuries at work. Sleep also plays a role in the consolidation of memory—the process of storing information in the memory bank—thanks, in part, to the strengthening of the neural connections that occurs during snooze time. So getting enough sleep helps you learn new information.
How Sleep Affects Your Mood
It’s not a fluke that you often wake up in a good mood after a blissful night’s sleep. While you get the proper amount of zzz’s, your body regulates the flow of feel-good brain chemicals, such as epinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. So you have a better chance of waking up feeling refreshed, energized, positive, and confident. In other words, sleeping for the ideal number of hours can help you sidestep or minimize the moody blues.