Studies have shown getting enough sleep is paramount if you want to function well the rest of the day.
If there's anything Daylight Savings Time can remind us of, it's the difference one less hour of sleep can mean for the rest of our day.
Our bodies naturally want to develop a rhythm by which we slumber, and that rhythm often sets the pace for the other natural cycles in our life. So, as we mourn the loss of that 60 minutes we won't get back for the next several months, here are some reminders of why enough sleep is a great thing and too little sleep can lead to too many problems.
Sleep helps you retain what you learn. Sleep is a time for the brain commit new information to memory through a process researchers call memory consolidation. In studies, people who'd slept after learning a task did better on tests later. Likewise, subjects who "crammed" for their test with little to no sleep afterward did significantly worse.
Irregular sleep patterns affect metabolism. Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite. Likewise, sleeping off a large meal will also slow down how we process food, as our bodies begin storing energy it assumes is not being used.
We all feel better after a nap. The same way a toddler gets cranky when she needs a nap, sleep deprivation can adversely affect our moods and make us impatient, irritable and unable to concentrate. Some researchers would also suggest lower levels of energy from loss of sleep can cause us to feel worse about the problems in our lives because we don't feel like we can solve them.
Our bodies simply need to rest. Sleep deprivation can harm your body in all sorts of ways, including poorer immune function, hypertension, irregular heartbeats and increased stress levels. Like driving your car non-stop can cause it to overheat or break down, the same thing happens to our organ systems when we push ourselves without enough sleep.