10 Reasons to Get More Sleep & 4 Reasons Why It’s Important and How to Get It
Getting a good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health. In fact, it’s just as important as eating a balanced, nutritious diet and exercising.
Though sleep needs vary from person to person, most adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Yet, up to 35% of adults in the United States don’t get enough sleep (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
Sleep deprivation can put your health and safety at risk, which is why it’s essential that you prioritize and protect your sleep on a daily basis.
This article tells you 9 reasons why you need to get more sleep.
1. May help you maintain or lose weight
Numerous studies have associated short sleep — defined as sleeping fewer than 7 hours per night — with a greater risk of weight gain and a higher body mass index (BMI) (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
In fact, a 2020 analysis found that adults who slept fewer than 7 hours per night had a whopping 41% increased risk of developing obesity. Meanwhile, sleeping longer didn’t increase the risk (6Trusted Source).
The effect of sleep on weight gain is believed to be affected by numerous factors, including hormones and motivation to exercise (5Trusted Source).
For instance, sleep deprivation increases levels of ghrelin and decreases levels of leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone that makes us feel hungry while leptin makes us feel full. This may cause us to feel hungrier and overeat (7Trusted Source).
This is supported by various studies that have shown that sleep-deprived individuals have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
What’s more, to compensate for lack of energy, sleep deprivation may make you crave foods that are higher in sugar and fat, due to their higher calorie content (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
To make matters worse, feeling tired after a night of too little sleep may leave you feeling unmotivated to hit the gym, go for a walk, or do whichever other physical activity you enjoy.
So, prioritizing sleep may support healthy body weight.
Summary Short sleep duration is associated with an increased risk of developing obesity and weight gain. Sleep deprivation may increase your appetite and cause you to eat more calories. In particular, you’re more likely to eat foods high in sugar and fat.
2. Can improve concentration and productivity
Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function.
Cognition, concentration, productivity, and performance are all negatively affected by sleep deprivation (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).
A specific study on overworked physicians provides a good example. It found that doctors with moderate, high, and very high sleep-related impairment were 54%, 96%, and 97% more likely to report clinically significant medical errors (15Trusted Source).
On a similar note, getting enough sleep can improve academic performance in children, adolescents, and young adults (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
Finally, good sleep has been shown to improve problem-solving skills and enhance memory performance in both children and adults (20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).
Summary Good sleep can maximize problem-solving skills and enhance memory. In contrast, poor sleep has been shown to impair brain function and decision making skills.
3. Can maximize athletic performance
Sleep has been shown to enhance athletic performance.
Numerous studies have shown that adequate sleep can enhance fine motor skills, reaction time, muscular power, muscular endurance, and problem-solving skills (23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source).
What’s more, lack of sleep may increase your risk of injury and lower your motivation to exercise (24Trusted Source).
So, getting enough sleep may be just the thing you need to take your performance to the next level.
Summary Getting enough sleep has been shown to improve many aspects of athletic and physical performance.
4. May strengthen your heart
Low sleep quality and duration may increase your risk of developing heart disease (26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source).
One analysis of 19 studies found that sleeping fewer than 7 hours per day resulted in a 13% increased risk of death from heart disease (29Trusted Source).
Another analysis found that compared with 7 hours of sleep, each 1-hour decrease in sleep was associated with a 6% increased risk of all-cause mortality and heart disease (30Trusted Source).
What’s more, short sleep appears to increase the risk of high blood pressure, especially in those with obstructive sleep apnea — a condition characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).
In fact, one study found that people who slept fewer than 5 hours per night had a 61% higher risk of developing high blood pressure than those who slept 7 hours (33Trusted Source).
Interestingly, excessive sleep in adults — more than 9 hours — was also shown to increase the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure (29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source).
Summary Sleeping fewer than seven hours per night is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
5. Affects sugar metabolism and type 2 diabetes risk
Short sleep is associated with a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance — which is when your body cannot use the hormone insulin properly (34Trusted Source).