After putting on a professional face for five days and 40 hours, many people use the weekend as a time to break free from routine and relax. Although you definitely deserve some downtime, relaxation for many people means late nights out, bar hopping, or even just indulging in movie marathons with friends and family that last far past midnight. You should look after your mental health, but getting enough sleep and following your normal sleep cycle are part of it.
Everyone is familiar with the short-term side effects of not getting enough sleep— temporary memory loss, impaired brain function, a bad mood you just can’t shake. After reading this article, you will never skip your sleep on weekends. Continue reading to understand why researchers say you should definitely get enough sleep on the weekends.
1. You’ll be happier
Sleep is important in regulating your mood, so you feel positive and don’t overreact. Studies show a lack of sleep affects serotonin levels in the brain, which helps keep you on an even keel. If you don’t get enough shut-eye, you may be more likely to lash out.
2. You’ll learn and remember better
Although scientists are still unraveling the link between sleep and learning, hundreds of studies show sleep is important to encode memories for the long term, and one study even showed power napping for 45 to 60 minutes increased learning and retention fivefold.
3. Increase your attention
If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re so prone to driving accidents you might as well have drunk a bunch of alcohol. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 100,000 crashes each year come from a lack of sleep.
4. Up your sex drive
Studies show men produce testosterone when they’re sleeping, which is important in sexual functioning, but getting about 5 hours of sleep each night for a week decreased testosterone levels by 15 percent. Sleep is important to regulate hormones in general, so getting less than you need will affect their levels.
5. Reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, poor sleep increases your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. This is definitely a reason to go to bed when you feel sleepy.
6. Amp up your energy
Stop relying on caffeine and use the most natural source of energy – sleep. If you get enough sleep and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, you’ll be getting all the energy you need to function.
7. Look better
Ever heard someone say “you look tired”? When you don’t get enough sleep, it shows. A study in the journal Sleep showed people who didn’t get enough had redder, baggier eyes, more fine lines and wrinkles, were paler, and just looked, well, tired.
How you sleep on weekends is just as important – getting 8 hours of sleep if you go to bed at 4:00 AM won’t give you the same benefits as going to bed at 10:00 PM.
8. You’re more likely to indulge when you go to bed late
The Daily Mail reported that people who go to bed after 11 PM are more likely to eat unhealthy snacks and drink alcohol, which translates to an increase in over 200 calories compared to those who go to bed before 11 PM.
9. If you eat late, sleep late, and wake up late, you may gain more weight
In one study, those who ate after 8 PM, went to bed around 3:45 AM, and woke up around 10:45 AM had higher BMIs, the National Sleep Foundation warns.
You also can’t sleep in to “catch-up” on sleep. If you didn’t get enough sleep during the week, sleeping in might be more harmful than helpful. Studies show the best way to make up for lost sleep is just to follow your sleep schedule and circadian rhythm.
So, give your body what it needs this weekend — a much-needed rest.
Featured photo credit: nomao saeki via unsplash.com