Are you getting enough sleep? Sleep (or lack thereof) affects our lives in surprising and profound ways. I’ve always had issues with sleep — trouble falling asleep at night; trouble staying awake during the day. One thing that’s helped me immensely is getting a light therapy lamp. Sitting next to it in the morning gives me more energy during the day.
If you’re having sleep trouble and haven’t gotten around to addressing it, here are some reasons why you should prioritize getting your sleep schedule down pat.
- An interrupted sleep cycle can lead to weight gain. In a study, after two weeks of sleep restriction, subjects ate an average of 200 calories more per day. The reason is that your body releases a hormone that stimulates appetite when sleep is disturbed.
- A regular sleep schedule results in lower cholesterol levels and reduced risk of heart disease.
- There’s actually a kernel of truth to the “beauty sleep” concept. A study found that subjects, when looking at pictures of sleep deprived versus well-rested individuals, rated the former as less healthy and less attractive.
- Getting appropriate amounts of sleep aids in information retention. It helps the brain commit new information to memory.
- Watch your activities around bedtime! Study subjects who texted, surfed the Internet, or played video games at bedtime had higher rates of sleep problems during the night, like leg pain, movements, and insomnia, and even higher rates of anxiety and depression during the day.
What’s the appropriate amount of sleep? It varies by person. I’ve found I need at least 8 hours. Generally, adults need 7-9 hours.