A lot of us barely get enough sleep – in fact, most people survive on just four to five hours a day of rest! But it’s been emphasised over and over: it’s crucial to get enough sleep because, in the long run, it will affect your mental and emotional state. Everyone has probably heard that we should get eight hours of sleep every night – but this number fluctuates depending on what studies you read – some say four hours of sleep is fine, while others say you should get a minimum of eight hours. But here’s the thing: as long as you wake up rested, no matter how much sleep you get, that’s what’s most important. But why is it so crucial to get enough rest? Here are the answers to your top questions.
- It is known to boost your productivity and concentration
The first aspect that is affected whenever we lack sleep is our focus and concentration. Simply put, the brain can’t function well if you don’t get enough sleep. And it’s not just your concentration that will be negatively affected – your cognition may also be negatively impacted. Take GPs, for instance. In a study done on physicians that were overworked, it was found that those with impaired sleep were much more likely to show errors in their medical reports. In fact, those who were heavily sleep-deprived showed errors of up to 97 per cent!
But on the other hand, if you get enough sleep in a day, your ability to solve problems and your memory will be enhanced. Moreover, your productivity and performance will improve if you get ample rest. That’s why more business executives and entrepreneurs have taken to hiring a virtual assistant, one who can help them with their business and personal affairs. It’s a brilliant decision, too, as it has gotten them into the habit of sleeping well, getting enough rest, and spending more time with their loved ones.
- It can affect your metabolism – and help you lose weight
Many studies have shown the significance of getting enough sleep and losing weight – or at least maintaining your ideal weight. These studies showed that not getting enough sleep of at least seven hours each night increased the risk of gaining weight and a higher BMI or body mass index. As a matter of fact, it was found in 2020 that those who got less than seven hours of sleep in one night increased their likelihood of becoming obese.
It is believed that people gain weight when they lack sleep, and it is caused by several factors, including the motivation to stay active and exercise and hormones. For example, when you are sleep deprived, your body produces higher ghrelin levels and lower leptin levels. As a hormone, ghrelin makes us hungrier, while on the opposite side of the spectrum, leptin increases our feelings of fullness. Therefore, if we have increased ghrelin levels, we may end up overeating because we still feel hungry. And because you don’t have energy when you are sleep-deprived, you tend to crave more fatty and sugary foods.
It’s not just our cognitive skills and weight that may be affected – we get more irritable and cranky, and it’s best – for ourselves and everyone around us – if we have enough sleep.