Sleep: 10 Reasons Why We Need It and What Happens Without It
What happens when you don’t sleep? And why do we need to do it anyways? The Sci Schow explains the science of sleep: the cause, the benefits, and who holds the record for going without it!
Here are 10 reasons why getting a good night’s shut eye will set you up for a brighter day.
1. Keep your figure
Watching your weight can be as simple as getting a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep can make you put on weight by drastically slowing your metabolism down, according to a study by scientists at Uppsala University in Sweden. The researchers suggested getting plenty of sleep might prevent weight gain.
2. You can concentrate better
We have all woken up after a good night’s sleep ready to take on the world. But IKEA’s Slumber Survey found one in three Australians rate their sleep as ‘poor’ to ‘terrible’. A bad night’s sleep can leave you struggling all day. More than half of us will have problems concentrating after sleeping badly, according to a survey by shopping channel QVC.
3. You’ll be in a great mood
Nearly two thirds of people blame lack of sleep when they feel irritable, according to the QVC survey. IKEA spokesman Angela McCann says: “It’s unsurprising only 1% of those asked in the Slumber Survey claim to feel fantastic when they wake up. The lack of sleep and the ensuing tiredness is likely impacting on people’s judgment, problem-solving and creativity.”
4. You’ll look more attractive
Regular shut-eye actually makes you look healthier and more attractive, according to a 2010 study published in the British Medical Journal. Researchers photographed 23 people after a period of sleep deprivation and after a normal night’s sleep of eight hours. The photos were shown to 65 people who rated each photo based on health attractiveness and tiredness. The sleep deprived group scored lower in all three categories.
5. Ability to make better informed decisions
We’ve all heard of sleeping on a problem, in the hope that come morning the solution will be clear. Well scientists have found that when you do this your brain still looks for a solution, even when you’re asleep. Even if you don’t wake up with an answer, a good night’s sleep will equip your brain to assess the problem afresh.
6. You’ll live longer
Regularly sleeping less than you should is associated with a shorter lifespan, although it is not clear whether little sleep is the cause, or an effect of other illnesses. Studies have found people who routinely sleep for fewer than six hours a night have a higher risk of dying sooner than people of a similar age who sleep for seven or eight hours a night.
You’ll be a winner
Getting extra sleep can even improve athletic performance. Five swimmers were monitored as part of a study in 2008, they extended their sleep to 10 hours a day for six to seven weeks. At the end of the study the athletes could swim faster and react more quickly. With Australians sleeping for seven hours each night on average, according to IKEA’s Slumber Survey, three more hours in bed could make us quicker and sharper.
8. You’re less likely to get ill
Lack of sleep can suppress your immune system, which makes you more vulnerable to infections. A study in 2009 found that sleeping for fewer than seven hours a night increased the risk of catching a cold. The team from Carnegie Mellon University found the risk was trebled compared with those who slept for eight hours or more a night.
9. You’ll remember things clearly
During deep sleep the brain goes through our impressions of the day in a process vital to memory formation. A study published in the journal Sleep found people who slept fewer than six hours a night for two weeks scored far worse on memory tests than those who slept eight hours.
10. You’ll have better sex
The better rested you are, the better sex you’ll have, according to researchers. The 2010 Sleep in America poll found about 20-30 per cent of men and women felt their family life and sexual relationships had been affected by their sleepiness.
Source: Body and Soul