Bragging about how little sleep you get will get you nowhere. Sleep is absolutely essential. Getting too little of it does not mean you are more productive than the rest of us.
Instead, it means you have lower cognitive function, slower reaction times and are, yes, less productive in your waking hours. We know all of this, but what about the more surprising health benefits of sleep?
Following are 11 benefits of sleep that will convince you to hit the hay:
1. Live longer. You may be tempted to think that less sleep means more out of your days. However, according to Health.com, a 2010 study found more deaths occurred in women who get less than five hours of sleep a night.
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2. Reduce inflammation. Health.com says people who sleep fewer than six hours per night have higher levels of inflammatory proteins in the blood. These inflammatory proteins are associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and premature aging.
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3. Stick to your diet. A University of Chicago study found dieters who got adequate sleep lost 56 percent more fat than those who were sleep deprived, reports Health.com. This is because sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same part of the brain.
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4. Maintain blood sugar levels. WebMD reports on a study that found after three days of sleep deprivation, 10 healthy young adults had blood glucose levels that qualified them as pre-diabetic.
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5. Reduce chronic pain. There is a link between sleep loss and a low pain threshold, says WebMD. To treat chronic pain, make sure to get a full eight hours of sleep.
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6. Improve mood. Put away the depression pills and pull out the pillows. WebMD says sleep effects emotions. Sleep deprivation makes a person more prone to mood swings.
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7. Reduce anxiety. Gurl explains that REM sleep allows the brain to reset its emotions. When the brain is unable to rest and refresh, it cannot process emotions and experiences the following day.
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8. Improve skin. A dermatologist's best kept secret is sleep. According to Gurl, even just one night of poor sleep results in dull, tired-looking skin. It can even cause breakouts. This is because the skin repairs itself during sleep by replacing old skin cells with new ones.
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9. Improve creativity. If you need to solve a problem, sleep on it. Gurl explains that the brain reorganizes memories during sleep, thereby increasing creativity.
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10. Learn more efficiently. Harvard Medical School explains that when you're sleep deprived, you can't focus your attention and learn efficiently.
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11. Improve memory. Memory acquisition and recall takes place in sleep when neural connections are strengthened, says Harvard Medical School.
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