10 Reasons You Need to Sleep

I appreciate late nights with Fonzie-filled reruns as much as the next guy. But if you want to wake up to a happy day in the morning, you’ll be better off if you put down the remote, close the laptop, and tune in for a good night’s sleep. Here are 10 reasons why:

1. Alertness

We know there are plenty of things people shouldn’t do while under the influence. Yet, mounting evidence should have us reconsider the risks of what we choose to do when we’re tired or drowsy. Findings continue to show similarly low levels of alertness between sleep deprived individuals and those who’ve had a few alcoholic beverages.

2. Learning & memory

Students planning an all-night cram session take note:  sleep improves your ability to digest and access information. Staying up and studying puts the information in front of you. But if you actually want to understand that information, go to bed. Even a short nap will help you be more effective on tomorrow’s test.

3. Problem solving

“I’ll sleep on it.” Many of us are humble geniuses in the morning. And there’s a reason why.  It turns out a good night’s rest isn’t just an excuse for putting something off until tomorrow.

4. Muscle repair

Weekend warriors and workout enthusiasts take note: sleep is essential for muscle growth and repair.

5. Reduced inflammation

Sleep repairs and rebuilds more than just muscles. The body’s inflammatory response is triggered when we’re exposed to trauma, toxins, cell-damaging free radicals, or even daily stress. And our bodies take sleep as great opportunity to process these exposures and return us to a less inflamed state.

6. Lowered cortisol

Cortisol is important in times of stress. But over time, elevated levels are harmful. In our earlier human days we did a lot of hunting, fighting, and physical labor to survive. And cortisol played a big part in our fight or flight response—keeping us alert, productive and alive. Now, life’s a bit less prehistoric, but our cortisol still goes up during stressful times. And the best way to keep it in check is a good night’s rest.

7. Your weight

Beyond elevated cortisol levels that push your body to store fat, sleep deprived individuals tend to crave high-fat, readily accessible meals that can add pounds.

8. Lower risk of depression

Always consult your physician if you’re concerned about depression. And keep in mind that the quality and quantity of your sleep is related to your daily mood.

9. Dreams are fun!

Well, mostly. Sometimes we have those weird or terrifying ones. But where else can we ride magical snowboards while chasing evil trolls? Where?

10. We’re not completely sure

Scientists have been studying sleep, and our need for it, for years. We know we need it. But the definitive reason the body can’t function without it is still elusive.

 

One last thing we do know is that everyone requires a different amount of sleep each night to wake up fully rested in the morning. In terms of sleep cycles, we’re as individual as snowflakes. But on average, 7-9 hours is suggested. So there you have it—10 reasons you should commit to quality time with your pillow. But what if you try and you’re unable to fall asleep quickly, or you toss and turn in the night and wake up without feeling rested? See 7 Tips for Better Sleep!

Cheers,

Guest Blogger Matt

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9 Responses to 10 Reasons You Need to Sleep
  1. 7 Tips for Better Sleep - Stay Well Blog
    September 4, 2012 | 5:23 pm

    [...] on September 4, 2012 by Walgreens in Health & Wellness We know we need to sleep. And from my last post, we know a little bit more about why. But what if you have trouble falling asleep, or getting [...]

  2. amy hazen
    September 4, 2012 | 6:13 pm

    I really enjoy my sleep. I can really tell a difference when I havent had a goodnights sleep.

  3. H Hansen
    September 4, 2012 | 7:32 pm

    What is the value of over the counter sleep medicines as I probably don’t qualify for prescribed sleep medicine – I know they work but what are the downsides?

    • Sleepless in SC
      September 4, 2012 | 11:22 pm

      I heard that melatonin 3mg, 5mg or 10 mg helps many people. It can be found in the vitamin section of a drug store or Walmart. Unfortunately it doesn’t help me at all. I am wondering if my recent brain surgery had anything to do with making it impossible to sleep or even cat nap. Don’t get on any prescribed sleep medication, like I was, because you become dependent on it and it can be harming to you….especially Ambien or Ambien CR.

    • Colette Ming
      September 5, 2012 | 1:48 am

      Your pharmacist is the best person (outside of your doctor) to ask this question of. I believe one can easily become dependent on OTC sleeping meds as one can become dependent on prescribed sleeping medications.

  4. Sleepless in SC
    September 4, 2012 | 11:18 pm

    I am on seizure medication to reduce my seizures that occur. I am not on any sleep medication anymore (ambien) and since the seizures starting occurring 4 months ago, when 2 tumors were removed from my brain (left side), I have not had 1 night of sleep since. I go to bed at a reasonable time, but toss and turn, head pain, and do not get more than 5 minutes of “sleep” within 8-10 hours. I look like a zombie and am so exhausted. What can I do? I am desperate! Melatonin doesn’t help at all either.

  5. rlavass
    September 5, 2012 | 12:53 am

    I have tried every OTC sleep med on the shelf – and still cannot get a full night’s sleep – I fall asleep fine, but wake 2-3 times per night and average about 4 hours. I AM EXHAUSTED! Also I don’t have health insurance, therefore I am unable to pay out of pocket for prescription sleep meds.

  6. susanna
    September 5, 2012 | 10:15 am

    I really know all that but what does one do if one has a sleep problem which I have
    had for years?

  7. [...] to get what you want out of the holidays, don’t forget to plan to do nothing. We know about the benefits of getting enough sleep, but there’s also a health benefit to slowing down, catching our breaths, refocusing, and [...]

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