You are probably very busy—we all are—but if you want to be healthy, wealthy and beautiful, you need to sleep.  Perhaps that is why Arianna Huffington entitled her TED Talk as follows: “How to succeed? Get More Sleep.”  Here are 10 Reasons why you need to sleep more even though you are busy.

1. You’ll have better physical health.

Study after study shows that denying yourself sleep has many serous health consequences.  Chronic lack of sleep increases your chances of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, heart attack and high blood pressure.

In addition, in order to stay awake during working hours, your a sleep deprived brain craves excess caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and other stimulating drugs—all of which are contributors to various health risks.

2. You’ll be in a better mood.

When you are rested, you are in a better mood—that is why you need to sleep. You probably have noticed that when you are sleep deprived, you are moody, cranky, irritable and ready to snap at anyone.  On the other hand, when you are well rested, you are generally more content and happy.

3. You’ll be at lower risk of getting injured.

Think about it: most accidents happen when people are exhausted.  In her book: Sleep Deprived No More, Professor Mindell PHD states “When you’re overtired, you’re more likely to trip, or fall off a ladder, or cut yourself while chopping vegetables.” In the US alone, one hundred thousand car accidents per year are caused by sleep deprived drivers.

4. You’ll look better.

Another reason why you need to sleep is because when you are rested, you look better. We have all heard the expression, I need my beauty sleep—well rested people look better. If you are exhausted, you just don’t look as good.  Plus, when you are rested you are more likely to smile, and nothing enhances your good looks more than a smile. When you are sleep deprived, people perceive you as more tired, less attractive, less healthy and older than you actually are.

5. You’ll have a healthier weight.

When you sleep well, you have energy to exercise, cook a healthy meal, play soccer with your children, and you are more likely to make healthier food choices.  On the other the hand, when you are tired, you need more energy, and you often find this energy in not so healthy foods—high calorie carbohydrates and sugar in particular. Your brain is literally telling your body to stock up on food by releasing the hunger hormone ghrelin.  And obviously you are still too exhausted to exercise and play with your children.

6. You’ll have better relationships.

Lack of sleep is likely to affect your mood, which indirectly affects your relationships.  People who are in a bad mood are often are negative, irritable, impatient and plainly rude.  We generally don’t like to hang around people who are in a bad mood.

7. You’ll be able to think more clearly.

In her book: Sleep Deprived No More, Professor Mindell, PHD states that lack of sleep “impairs your cognition, your attention, and your decision-making.” You know how you feel after pulling an all-nighter to finish up a paper. You’re not really at your best to take the final exam, are you?

In addition, the ability to find novel solutions to complex problems are dramatically enhanced by sleep, says neuroscientist Russell Foster in his TED talk “Why Do We Sleep?.”

8. You’ll improve your mental health.

People who are chronically sleep deprived are in more mental distress and more likely to be depressed. Russell Foster in his TED talk “Why Do We Sleep?” shared his new research that demonstrated a clear link between mental health, mental illness and your sleep habits.

9. You’ll remember more.

Russell Foster also shares his research concerning how good sleep promotes and supports good memory, while lack of sleep impairs memory.  He explains that while we sleep, our brains process and consolidate memories from our day.

10. You’ll get sick less often

One preliminary study suggests that people who sleep less than seven hours per night are three times more likely to get sick.  Sleep deprived people are more stressed and this leads to suppressed immunity. Perhaps you can remember your end of a semester exam time, you worked hard, you slept little for 2 to 3 weeks and when it was all over, you came down with a major cold.

Now you know why you need to sleep; let’s see what counts as sufficient sleep.

There is a debate regarding how many hours is enough sleep and who needs more sleep.  Some people suggest 7–9 hours per night, others say that you need to add an extra hour beyond what you think you need.  Yet, others suggest that every hour of sleep before midnight is equivalent to two hours past the midnight hour. Regardless of what the experts suggest, allocating extra time to sleep can’t hurt.  So go to bed early tonight and enjoy a happy and heathy tomorrow. :)

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