In his New York Times bestselling book, Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker — English neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley — makes a simple argument: “The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep,” and, unfortunately, “the number of sleep bouts, the duration of sleep, and when sleep occurs has all been comprehensively distorted by modernity.” Although circumstances may vary between people, “how” this happens isn’t difficult to understand. You’ve been given more duties at work, or the house is mess, or you’re trying desperately to write that novel after work.
Regardless of what this looks like in your own life, we often think of sleep as the first thing we can cut, but for these three reasons (and more), you’ll see why that might be even more detrimental to what you’re trying to accomplish.
Sleep Prevents Depression
Anyone who’s struggled with depression knows that it can leave you feeling both lethargic and hopeless, making it even more difficult to tackle your to-do list. Getting the right amount of quality sleep can help prevent this. Although the relationship between sleep and mood is a complicated one, the relationship is a well documented one. Perhaps one reason sleep deprivation can exacerbate mental health issues, is that sleep has shown to help our bodies to regulate our emotions, and process trauma. Other ideas is that it may make us more inactive, which, in turn, can cause depression.
Sleep Boosts Our Immune System
Nothing cuts our productivity in half more than sickness. How can we get to those extra tasks after work, when we ache all over? According to a wealth of new studies, sleep loss can severely disrupt the body’s ability to fight off infection. During sleep, your immune system releases the protein, cytokines, which can help to alleviate inflammation or fight infection. Lack of sleep has shown to hinder the body’s ability to produce this protein
Are You Getting the Quality of Sleep You Need?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults between the ages of 26-64, require between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately for those trying to be their best self, it’s a little more complicated, because it’s not just about the amount of sleep you’re getting, but the quality. Have you ever woken up after eight hours of sleep and still felt tired? Do you frequently experience morning headaches? Has your partner complained that you snore?
These are all signs of sleep apnea, a serious condition which can make it nearly impossible to sleep sounding through the night. Suffers stop breathing during sleep due to some kind of obstruction, which can disrupt blood-oxygen levels and increase your chances of heart disease.