We’ve all been taught that consistently enjoying high-quality sleep is important for our wellbeing. But few of us can say exactly why this is the case.
This lack of detailed knowledge might explain why so many people are walking around without feeling rested. Stats suggest approximately one in three adults suffers from inadequate sleep.
While the occasional late night might not do much harm, consistently missing out on sleep has some serious repercussions. For anyone who’s ever wondered why sleep is so gosh darn important, here are six specific reasons to never skimp on sleep again.
Lack of sleep reduces your chance of academic and professional success.
Sleep deprivation provokes a cascade of issues that can make it more difficult to advance in your career. These consequences include impaired judgement, irritability, diminished creativity, reduced capacities for focus and concentration, limited abilities for learning and remembering new information, a higher chance of making errors on the job, a greater likelihood of experiencing brain fog and fuzzy thinking, reduced productivity, and impaired performance overall.
This helps explain why research finds sleep-deprived students exhibit lower academic performance and diminished career opportunities upon graduation. It also demonstrates the many ways in which chronic sleep deprivation can derail people’s careers.
Not getting enough sleep increases the risk of major health conditions.
Research suggests chronic sleep deprivation can increase the risk of developing a wide range of serious health conditions. These include Type 2 Diabetes, colorectal cancer, high blood pressure, dementia, heart disease, anxiety, and depression. Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can even increase the risk of early death. This may be partly because sleep deprivation can impair your immune system’s functioning, thereby diminishing your body’s ability to fight off disease.
Skimping on sleep ages you faster.
Folks who don’t get enough sleep are more liable to exhibit signs of aging, from baggy and/or puffy eyes to fine lines, wrinkles, and pale or sallow skin. That’s largely because sleep deprivation increases the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol, which attacks the collagen that would otherwise help maintain smooth, dewy skin.
Sleep deprivation strains pretty much all of your bodily systems.
This may sound dramatic, but there’s plenty of research to back it up: Sleep deprivation disrupts the healthy functioning of the majority of bodily systems, including the central nervous system, respiratory system, digestive system, immune system, cardiovascular system, and endocrine system.
This has consequences that reverberate throughout the body and mind, from increasing the chances that you’ll experience irritability and mood swings to diminishing creativity, impairing decision making, increasing the risk for chronic illnesses, exacerbating respiratory conditions, disrupting healthy hunger signals, diminishing sex drive, interfering with healthy hormone production, and reducing your body’s ability to heal.
Lack of sleep puts public safety at risk.
Sleep-deprived people are more likely to make errors, be in accidents, and incur injuries both on the job and in daily life. This is especially true on the road: Estimates suggest tiredness is a factor in as many as 100,000 auto accidents and over 1,500 traffic-accident-related deaths every year.
Not getting enough sleep reduces your ability to feel happy.
Sufficient sleep supports proper functioning of the hormones and other brain chemicals that regulate mood and support positive mental wellbeing. Chronic sleep deprivation, on the other hand, increases the risk of feeling irritable, developing anxiety and/or depression, and being unable to recognize feelings of happiness.
So now you know: In order to preserve every aspect of your wellbeing (and the wellbeing of those around you), it’s essential to make high-quality sleep a nightly priority.