In 1942, the average American got 7.9 hours of sleep per night. However, in its latest published study, Gallup showed that in 2013, on average, American adults were only getting 6.7 hours nightly.1 In addition, up to 40% of the American population is getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night. This lost sleep can be catastrophic to our health and safety.
We all hear the experts saying that getting adequate sleep is good for our health, but is it really? Here are five reasons why getting more rest is beneficial to your health:
1. Better Brain Function
When you’re continually sleep deprived, your cognitive processing will take a hit. Your brain isn’t functioning on all cylinders, causing loss of attention, less alertness and impaired cognitive reasoning. A well-rested brain can learn more efficiently and effectively than one that is struggling to keep up on only a few hours sleep.
2. Increased Libido
A University of Chicago sleep study showed that men who slept less than 5 hours a night had 10-15% lower levels of testosterone in their body than those who got more than 5 hours.2 While this percentage may not seem significant, men generally lose 1% of their testosterone levels per year naturally. In effect, men who don’t get enough sleep are ‘aging’ their libido 10-15 years.
3. Glowing Skin
While we have all experienced the puffy eyes of a bad night’s sleep, it’s been found that a steady loss of sleep results in a sallowness to the skin as well as the continual presence of dark circles under the eyes. A lack of sleep causes stress, which releases cortisol into your system. Cortisol, unfortunately, breaks down collagen, which promotes healthy skin and elasticity in your cells.
4. Weight Loss
Studies show that those who get less than five hours of sleep a night have a harder time losing weight than those getting a full night’s rest. The old adage ‘you snooze, you lose’ has a whole new meaning! There are two explanations to this effect. The first is that a poor night’s sleep leaves you feeling sluggish and not wanting of physical activity. The second explanation is more scientific in that the hormones regulating hunger are affected by the amount of sleep you get and may trigger your appetite when they aren’t properly regulated by sleep.3
5. Public Safety
The National Highway Safety Administration has a ‘conservative estimate that 100,000 police-reported crashes are a direct result of driver fatigue each year. These incidents result in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.’4 These statistics alone should be enough to ensure you’re getting enough sleep. Your sleep depravity not only harms your body, but also can ultimately harm those around you.